Electronic Portfolio

Clarissa KML Chun


Clarissa KML Chun (wikipedia)

Roosevelt High School graduate Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo.) became the first women's freestyle wrestler to be nominated to her second Olympic Team after her stellar performance at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling in Iowa City, Iowa, on April 22, 2012.


The Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club is looking for charitable corporations and individuals like you in order to involve those who feel close to the sport and to help support our athletes during their pursuits.


As a non-profit organization we continually face an enormous challenge and need your help in order to provide the resources necessary to meet the needs of our elite level athletes.

Sunkist Kids Donor Form.pdf

2012: U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion - First place - women's freestyle wrestling

2012: Gold Medal - Pan Am Games women's freestyle, KISSIMMEE, Florida.

2011: Gold Medal: U.S. Open Wrestling Championships in Arlington, Texas.

2011: 1st place - Gold Medal - Poland Open, Poznan, Poland

2011: 1st place - U.S. World Team Trials in Oklahoma City

2010: Gold Medal: Open Cup in Russia International

2010: Gold Medal: Pan American Wrestling Championships in Mexico

2009: Gold Medal: Pan American Wrestling Championships in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

2009 US National Champion

Women's Freestyle World Championships - First place - Gold Medal - 48 kg

48 kg/105.5 lbs. Women's champion interview Clarissa Chun (Youtube Video)

2008 World Champion

Women's Freestyle World Championships - First place - Gold Medal - 48 kg

Youtube Videos:

Final Gold Medal Match

WIN Makiko Sakamoto (Japan), 0-1, 3-0, 1-1 (Youtube Video)


Photo Gallery: TheMat.com




First wrestler from Hawai'i - female or male - to make the U.S. 2008 Olympic Team.

Beijing, China

" Smallest U.S. Olympic athlete" ... "2nd Smallest"

Photographer: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

International Award Winning Wrestler

2012: Bronze medal: The Games of the XXX Olympiad (London, England, GB, UK)

2012: 5th Place: Canada Cup, Guelph, Canada

2012: Women's World Cup in Tokyo, Japan

2012: U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion - First place - women's freestyle wrestling

2012: Gold Medal - Pan Am Games women's freestyle, KISSIMMEE, Florida.

2011: 5th Place: Mongolia Open, ULAN BAATAR, Mongolia.

2011: Gold Medal: U.S. Open Wrestling Championships in Arlington, Texas.

2011: 2nd Place: New York AC Freestyle International.

2011: Silver Medal - Pan Am Games women's freestyle, GUADALAJARA, Mexico

2011: 7th Place - World Championships, ISTANBUL, Turkey

2011: 1st place - Gold Medal - Poland Open, Poznan, Poland

2011: 1st place - U.S. World Team Trials in Oklahoma City

2011: Bronze: Mongolian National Wrestling Championship

2011: Gold Medal: 2011 ASICS U.S. Open Wrestling Championships in Cleveland, Ohio.

2011: Silver Medal: Grand Prix of Tourcoing, Tourcoing, France.

2010: Gold Medal: Open Cup in Russia International

2010: 1st Place: New York AC Freestyle International

2010: Bronze Medal: German Grand Prix

2010: 2nd place - in U.S. World Team Trials

2010: Gold Medal: Pan American Wrestling Championships in MONTERREY, Mexico

2010: Gold Medal: Pan American Wrestling Championships in Mexico

2009: Gold Medal: Canada Cup, Guelph, Canada

2009: 1st place - in U.S. World Team Trials

2009: Gold Medal: Pan American Wrestling Championships in Maracaibo, Venezuela.

2009: 1st place - in U.S. Nationals

2008: Women's Freestyle World Championships - First place - Gold Medal - 48 kg

2008: 1st place - in U.S. World Team Trials

2008: 5th place - Olympics - Beijing, China

2008: U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion - First place - women's freestyle wrestling 105.5-pound division at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling and Judo.

2008: Fourth in U.S. Nationals

2008: Gold Medal: Pan American Wrestling Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo.

2008: Silver Medal: Guelph Open, Guelph, Canada

2007: Fourth in U.S. World Team Trials

2007: Third in U.S. Nationals

2007: Third in Guelph Open (Canada)

2006: U.S. Senior Nationals - Gold Medal

2006: Second in New York AC Holiday International Open

2006: Sunkist Kids/ASU International Open champion

2006: U.S. Nationals champion

2006: Vehbi Emre Golden Grand Prix champion (Turkey)

2006: Tenth in Ivan Yarygin Memorial International (Russia)

2006: Second in Klippan Ladies Golden Grand Prix (Sweden)

2005: Sunkist Kids/ASU International champion - 1st Place 2005 Sunkist Kids / ASU International Open

2005: Second in NYAC Holiday Championships

2005: Clansmen International champion (Canada)

2005: Third in U.S. World Team Trials

2004: Second in Sunkist Kids International Open

2004: Fourth in World Cup

2004: Second in U.S. Olympic Team Trials - runners-up

Placed second at the U.S. Olympic Trials in women's wrestling (the first year with the style in the Olympics) (48 kg)

2004: Second in U.S. Nationals

2004: Sixth in Ivan Yarygin Memorial International (Russia)

2004: Fourth in Dave Schultz Memorial International

USA Wrestling's Women's University National Champion

Consistently ranked No. 2 by USA Wrestling

2003: Second in Sunkist Kids International Open

2003: Second in U.S. World Team Trials

2003: Second in U.S. Nationals

2003: Fourth in Klippan Ladies Open (Sweden

April 14, 2003: USA Wrestling's Women's University National Champion in St. Joseph, Minn.

2002: Second in U.S. World Team Trials - Runner-up

2002: Fourth in U.S. Nationals

2002: Third in Pan American Championships

2002: was among the charter group of about 20 women invited to the U.S. Olympic Training Center when its women's wrestling facility opened.

2001: Sunkist Kids International Open champion

2001: Fourth in World Cup

2001: Second in U.S. World Team Trials - Runner-up

2001: Third in U.S. Nationals

2001: Klippan Ladies Open champion (Sweden)

2001: Second in Pan American Championships

2001: Missouri Valley International Open champion

2001: Second in Minnesota - Morris Women's Open

2001: Third in Manitoba Open (Canada)

2001: Represented USA in first Women's World Cup 2001 in Levalois, France

2001: Won international open in Phoenix

2001: USA Wrestling's Women's University National Champion

2001: Fifth in Junior World Championships

2000: DNP in World Championships

2000: Second in Pan American Championships

2000: Second in U.S. World Team Trials

2000: Second in U.S. Nationals

2000: Dave Schultz Memorial International champion

2000: Minnesota-Morris Women's Open champion

2000-02: Silver medal at Pan American Championships

2000-01: FILA Junior Nationals champion

2000: Third in University Nationals

2000 U.S. World Team member

2000: U.S. Collegiate Nationals champion

2000: Eighth in Junior World Championships

1999: Third in Sunkist Kids International Open

1999: Third in Sunkist Kids International Open

1999: USA Age-Group: Fourth in 2004 University World Championships

1999: Hawaii State champion wrestler

Wrestling USA Magazine's High School Girls All-America Team

1999 USGWA High School Nationals - Third

1998: Hawaii State champion wrestler - the first year girls wrestling was a sanctioned sport.

CAREER NOTES: (themat.com)

- 2000 U.S. World Team member

- 2006 U.S. Nationals champion

- Third in 2005 U.S. World Team Trials

- 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials runner-up

- Four-time U.S. Nationals runner-up (1999-2000, 2003-04)

- Four-time U.S. World Team Trials runner-up (2000-03)

- Fifth in 2001 Junior World Championships

- Three-time University Nationals champion (2001, 2003-04)


Clarissa Performing Magic (1993)

Olympian's uncle dedicates magic show

KHNL News 8 Article

KHNL Youtube Video

Dedicates Magic Show: Chinese / Japanese / Hawaii 5-0 Theme (Youtube)

Updated: Aug 14, 2008 12:27 PM

By Kristine Uyeno

NUUANU (KHNL) - Hawaii's own Clarissa Chun will soon make her Olympic debut in wrestling. To celebrate, her uncle held a very magical show for her at Nuuanu School.

"Tomorrow's a big day for her, she has practiced all her life and focused on on the Olympics," said Kelvin Chun, her uncle.

He dedicates all these tricks from his magic show, to his niece.

On Friday, she hits the mat in Beijing and competes in the 105-lb. division for wrestling. But of all things, why would her uncle honor her this way? Because Clarissa had an interest in magic, when she was younger.

Clarissa would grow up to be the first, female, wrestling state champ while at Roosevelt High School. Now the Kapolei resident is in China for the biggest performance of her life.

"She's more focused so she doesn't want any distractions so she wants to focus on the matches and practice hard and train hard and everything," said Chun.

Kelvin hopes the students understand the message he tries to send to them, to focus on their goals and reach for the stars, like Clarissa. Because they too, can have a magical future.

He says Clarissa will hit the mat on Friday at 3:30 p.m. HST.

Ancestral Background:




Chinese Ancestry:

Clarissa is of mixed generation Chinese lineage.with her dad and grandparents from Oahu (4th and 5th generation)

History - the Chinese immigrants:

Chun History

Wong Chong Yao (1852-1926) was born in 1852 in Cheongshan district, Province of Kwangtung, China. He arrived in Hawaii on April 2, 1881 on USS Lydia, possibly to work on the island of Kauai. Using his brother, Wong, Chong Lun's record, Wong Chong Yao left China to find work in Hawaii. Before leaving China, Wong Chong Yao married Ching Shee* in 1880. Ching Shee was born in Tin Bin district of Kwangtung Province, China Canton, China). Ching Shee's brother paid for her passage to Hawaii. Ching Shee arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1887.

Japanese Ancestry:

Clarissa is of 4th generation Japanese Ancestry with her mom and grandparents from Kauai, Hawaii.


Clarissa's Grandparents, Parents, & Brother

Clarissa's Chun Popo at Graduation (Roosevelt 1999)

Congratulations Clarissa Chun!

Flow Wrestling Videos

Youtube Video of Qualifying Match in Las Vegas

Youtube Interview

Photos of the Final Match by Larry Slater (LBSphoto)
Clarissa Chun (born August 27, 1981 in Honolulu, Hawaii) is a 4th generation Chinese-Japanese-American Olympic Women's freestyle 48kg (105.5 lbs) wrestler.

It is ironic that being a US citizen, she was able to compete in the same year in the most prestigious international wrestling tournaments in the world in her ancestral countries.

She represented the United States of America competing in both the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, and the 2008 Women's Freestyle World Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

At the U.S. Olympic wrestling team trials in June, Clarissa Chun, a diminutive athlete from Hawai'i, gained the admiration of fans and media alike by staging a huge upset of seven-time national champion and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda.

In the process, Chun, who stands 4 feet 11, fulfilled a lifelong dream, becoming the first wrestler from Hawai'i to qualify for a U.S. Olympic team.

Chun placed fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games in China.

Chun placed first (Gold) at the 2008 Women's Freestyle World Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

U.S. women Chun, Bernard and Campbell win golds at Canada Cup

Gary Abbott USA Wrestling



GUELPH, Canada - Three members of the U.S. women's team claimed gold medals at the Canada Cup held on the 4th of July.

Capturing gold medals were 2008 Olympians Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. and Ali Bernard (New Ulm, Minn./Gator WC) at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.), along with 2008 U.S. Nationals champion Kelsey Campbell (Milwaukie, Ore./Sunkist Kids) at 59 kg/130 lbs.

The U.S. Senior World Team and the U.S. Junior World Team competed at the Canada Cup in preparation for World Championships competition later in the summer.

Chun was a 2008 World champion at her weight class, and placed fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games. She pinned Canada's Lindsay Rushton in the gold-medal finals. Chun won four matches on the way to her title.

Roosevelt alum Chun making her mark in Olympic wrestling

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Most afternoons, Clarissa Chun felt so drained from teaching that she needed a big cup of coffee to stay awake. Most nights, she felt so frustrated with wrestling that she questioned why she had moved overseas to train.

Her Japanese kindergarten students were easy to please, as she loved helping them learn English, but several 20-person classes took their toll. Plus, she didn't progress much by practicing among college-aged guys 40 pounds heavier.

"It wasn't the ideal situation," Chun said.

The 2008 Olympian returned to Colorado Springs in February, four months after taking up roots in a small city three hours outside Tokyo, and she already has recaptured the determination that carried her within a win of a bronze medal in Beijing.

Chun, 27, earned a chance to defend her 105.5-pound world title, defeating Alyssa Lampe in Sunday's championship series of the U.S. world team trials in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The world championships are in September in Denmark.

Three Americans have captured back-to-back world crowns - Lee Kemp in freestyle in 1978 and 1979; John Smith in freestyle in 1989, 1990 and 1991; and Tricia Saunders in 1998 and 1999. Saunders (four) and former Olympic Training Center resident Kristie Marano (two) are the only U.S. women with multiple world golds.

Many familiar faces likely will stand in Chun's path, including Ukrainian Irini Merleni, who pinned Chun in the bronze-medal match in Beijing, and Japan's Chiharu Icho, a narrow winner over Chun in the Olympic semifinals.

The first Hawaiian to make an Olympic wrestling team, Chun looks ready, with more explosive setups, stronger finishing moves and improved hand and head positioning that she'll refine this summer at tournaments in Canada and Poland and in training with Keith Wilson at Rough House MMA and Fitness.

"I'm the one they're trying to come after," Chun said. "Gaining the credentials, being at the Olympics, winning a world title - it's everyone gunning for me. I need to know how to handle that pressure, handle that expectation. I need to wrestle the way I know I can wrestle and not let outside things bother me."

Chun enjoyed living in Nakatsugawa, an industrial city with 86,000 residents. She often mingled with the locals, developing an appreciation for "the Japanese culture, their way of life - it's so unique and different. They take the time, something as simple as creating a meal. If you had dessert, it won't be too sweet. It seems just right."

But few people there speak English, and Chun isn't fluent in Japanese. More troublesome, when Chun wrestled against women, "they threw five different girls at me and rotated them at me. Every time I would defend a shot, their coach would yell at them. It was kind of like a scouting session."

Chun feels relaxed being back in Colorado Springs. And she's confident.

"My wrestling career is only so long," she said. "I need to take it right now, keep riding that wave. I still have that fire to compete. ... I'll start with the world title again. That sounds real nice

Chun seeks repeat of World wrestling title

Posted on: Monday, June 1, 2009

Hawai'i wrestler Clarissa Chun swept Alyssa Lampe in the women's freestyle finals of the U.S. World Team Trials last night and qualified for the World Championships in Herning, Denmark on Sept. 21-27.

Chun, the 2008 World women's freestyle champion, threw and pinned Lampe just 17 seconds into the second bout of their best-of-three final of the 48 kg/105.5-pound division at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

"I didn't want it to go another match. I just wanted to get it done," said Chun, a Roosevelt alum, who finished fifth in the 2008 Olympics.

"I'm still hungry. I'm definitely stoked to want to repeat as World champion. I know it's hard, but I'm ready for the challenge."

Chun beat Lampe by decision, 4-0 and 1-1, in the first match. Chun was one of 10 champions crowned in the two-day event.

Chun is third in voting for USOC Female Athlete of the Month for April



2008 World champion wrestler Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist) took third in the women's voting for the U.S. Olympic Committee's Athlete of the Month for April.

Chun captured her second career U.S. Nationals freestyle title with an impressive victory at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. at the U.S. Women's National Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., April 9. She was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament. She did not allow a single point in four matches.

Chun defeated 2005 U.S. Nationals champion Sara Fulp-Allen of the New York AC in the finals, 3-0, 1-0. She opened with a 5-0, 2-0 win over Victoria Anthony, then defeated 2006 Junior World champion Nicole Woody of OCU, 1-0, 2-0. In the semifinals, Chun defeated Joey Miller of OCU, 3-0, 6-0.

Chun also added a gold medal at Pan American Championships in Maracaibo, Venezuela, April 24. Chun was one of three U.S. individual gold medalists, and helped lead the United States to the team victory in women's wrestling.

Chun pinned Canada's Lindsay Rushton in the finals in the second period. She also scored a pin over Katiuska Toasa of Ecuador in the first match, then defeated Carolina Castillo of Colombia in the semifinals by decision.

2009: Gold Medal: Pan American Wrestling Championships in Maracaibo, Venezuela.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Hawaii's Clarissa Chun helps U.S. win wrestling title at Pan Am championship

Hawai'i's Clarissa Chun won three matches en route to the 105.5-pound title, helping the United State win the team title at the Pan American Women's Freestyle Championship today at Maracaibo, Venezuela.

Chun, a Roosevelt grad and the 2008 World champion, stopped Canada's Lindsay Rushton in the finals.

"She has been on lately. She wrestles with a lot of confidence and scores points when she wants to. She really believes in her stuff and she makes it look easy," said National Women's Coach Terry Steiner in an article in USA Wrestling. "She did a good job in all her matches today. We she had to score, she put a point on the board. There is so much talent there."

Two other U.S. wrestlers - Alyssa Lampe and Elena Pirozkhova - won individual titles. Chun and Pirozkhova won Pan Am titles for the second consecutive year.

The U.S., with six medalists, finished with 62 points, ahead of runner up Canada (56). Tied in third place were Cuba and host Venezuela with 48 points.

World champ Chun intent on making second Olympics

By Kim Baxter

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 23, 2009

Clarissa Chun may be coming off her most successful year of freestyle wrestling ever, but it's not enough.

She may have earned her first Olympic berth with a stunning upset over heavily favored Patricia Miranda. She may have a fifth-place finish in last August's Olympics in Beijing. She may have followed that up with a world championship -- her first -- two months later in Japan. And she may have just won the U.S. national title in the 105.5-pound division and been named the outstanding wrestler in the women's field.

But the 27-year-old from Kapolei wants more. Despite her roaring success in freestyle wrestling since last summer, one match has left the Roosevelt graduate with tears of disappointment and the disgust of a competitor who expects so much more of herself.

After winning her first two matches in Beijing, Chun faced Japan's Chiharu Icho in the semifinal round. If she won, she would compete for gold. And Chun was leading Icho late, but a mental gaffe cost her precious last-second points and the victory.

She finished fifth, but she also gained a newfound determination to make the next Olympics in London in 2012 and to do better on the world's biggest stage.

"After I lost, knowing that I could've done more, I was like, 'I'm not done. I want more. I want to make it to the next one,' " Chun said recently in a sit-down interview in Waikiki during a weeklong vacation home.

That Chun was so dissatisfied with a fifth-place finish in the Olympic Games is a testament to how far she has come. By making the world championships as a 19-year-old, she appeared to be on the fast track to world domination, but she struggled to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

And in 2007, she failed to make the U.S. national team for the first time. It was a heartbreaking result that made her reevaluate her training, her work, her life. Chun had always trained in Colorado Springs with the rest of the U.S. national team, including the top five competitors in her weight class. But figuring that she had little chance to gain an edge working the same schedule, the same practices and the same grind as her opponents, she made the drastic decision to step away from the U.S. training program and branch out on her own.

She trained solely with her personal coach, Keith Wilson. She changed her training, her diet, her cardio, her weightlifting and her mental preparation. And she did all that just 12 months before the Olympics.

"It was a tough road because I'd be getting up at 5, 5:30 in the morning for a conditioning workout at 6," Chun said. "I was working out three times a day before the Olympic trials. ... It was good for me because it was like no one else is up this early training. I just wanted it so bad and when I won (the trials), it was an amazing feeling. I was on Cloud 9 because no one expected me to win. They might've expected me to be in the running, but everyone thought Patricia Miranda would win."

Though the decision inevitably created some tension in the U.S. wrestling world, the results speak for themselves. Since then, Chun has developed into a world champion.

"It might've been a blessing in disguise because it probably woke her up," Wilson said. "If she had made the national team (in 2007), she might not have taken a chance to win it and might have been complacent."

Chun is far from complacent now. Though she took a few months off after the world championships in Japan and stayed there to teach English (and "gain a few kilos" because of the food), she has her sights set on more. She wants more national titles, more world championships and one more shot at Olympic glory.

With the strides she has made in the last year, all those goals look attainable now.

"I still think there's a lot of good potential left in her that we haven't tapped into yet," Wilson said. "She has the potential to be spectacular. ... She could be one of the best wrestlers we've ever had here in the U.S. The potential is there to win the gold and win more world championships."

Hawaiian Chun claims title at wrestling nationals

By Gary Mihoces, USA TODAY

Clarissa Chun, last year's world champion in the 105.5-pound class of women's freestyle wrestling, added another title Thursday night in Las Vegas by winning the weight division at the U.S. national tournament.

Chun, named outstanding wrestler in the women's field, earned the title with a 3-0, 1-0 victory over Sara Fulp-Allen, silver medalist at last year's World University Games.

Chun, 27, a native of Hawaii, placed fifth at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Two months later she won a gold medal at the women's world championships.

"I look at this year as a new day and another challenge. I have to get after it again," said Chun, whose victory will give her the top seed at her weight in the U.S. World Team Trials May 30-31 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

U.S. NATIONALS: Clarissa Chun hits jackpot, wins OW award in women's freestyle

Craig Sesker USA Wrestling


LAS VEGAS &endash; Clarissa Chun won a World title in 2008.

But that was last year.

It's a new year in 2009 and Chun is determined to add another World Championships gold medal to her collection.

Chun capped a strong performance Thursday night, downing World University silver medalist Sara Fulp-Allen 3-0, 1-0 in the U.S. Nationals finals at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. Chun was named Outstanding Wrestler.

Chun placed fifth in the 2008 Olympic Games before coming back two months later to win a World title.

"It's cool that I won Worlds," Chun said. "I soaked it all in, but I look at this year as a new day and another challenge. I have to get after it again. I want to win another championship. Rather than try to defend my World title, I've got to grab it again and win it again."

Chun was one of seven champions crowned during the women's freestyle finals on Thursday night at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The champions in each division will earn No. 1 seeds for the U.S. World Team Trials on May 30-31 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The top seven finishers in each weight class qualify for the World Team Trials.

The seven women's champions at the World Team Trials advance to September's World Championships in Herning, Denmark.

Chun won her second career U.S. Nationals title. She beat a familiar foe in Fulp-Allen, who she lost to twice last year before beating her in the Olympic Trials.

Chun headlocked Fulp-Allen just before time ran out in the first period to take control.

"I didn't want to slip and miss her head," Chun said. "If that happens, she gets one point and I lose that period. I knew I needed to make sure I had that locked up tight. I had to make sure I had it.

"She's a tough wrestler who is really flexible and counters really well. It's always a tough matchup for me."

Veteran Patricia Miranda captured her eighth U.S. Nationals title after pinning Katherine Fulp-Allen with a cradle in the finals at 51 kg/112.25 lbs.

Miranda, a past Olympic and World medalist, is back on the mat this year after being upset by Chun in the finals of the 2008 Olympic Trials.

WRESTLING: U.S. to compete at Women's World Cup in Taiyuan, China, March 21-22

by Gary Abbott - USA Wrestling (719-598-8181)

The United States will be among the eight top international wrestling teams to compete in the 2009 Women's World Cup in Taiyuan, China, March 21-22.

This is the annual international dual meet championships, and will feature teams from the United States, Japan, China, Canada, Russia, Mongolia, Ukraine and Belarus.

The U.S. team will feature a mix of veteran stars and top young talents, and is expected to be very competitive at this year's event.

Leading the U.S. team is 2008 World Champion Clarissa Chun (Tokyo, Japan/Sunkist Kids), who will compete at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. Chun will be competing for the first time since winning her World title in Japan last October.

"All of the top teams will be there. It will be a good competition. I am excited to get back out there competing again," said Chun.

Five members of the 2008 U.S. Women's World Team will participate in the Women's World Cup: Chun, plus Helen Maroulis (Rockville, Md./New York AC) at 51 kg/112.25 lbs., Deanna Rix (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 59 kg/130 lbs., Elena Pirozkhova (Colorado Springs, Colo./Gator WC) at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. and Stephany Lee, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids) at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.

Rix placed fifth at the 2008 World Championships, while Maroulis and Pirozkhova both placed eighth. Pirozkhova and Lee were also 2008 University World Champions.

Competing at 67 kg/147.5 lbs. will be 2008 Junior World Champion Adeline Gray (Denver, Colo./USOEC). Also on the team will be 2007 World Team member Leigh Jaynes (Colorado Springs, Colo./New York AC) at 55 kg/121 lbs., along with talented young Erin Clodgo (Richmond, Vermont/USOEC) at 67 kg/147.5 lbs. The team just completed an intense training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"Camp went well. We worked hard," said National Women's Coach Terry Steiner. "We have a team that can compete with anybody in the world. It is a good test to see where we are as a program against other countries. We are focusing on the process of winning, what it takes to have winning results. That includes the travel, making weight, the technology and how we step onto the mat to compete. We are focusing on the process of winning. If we do that, the results will take care of themselves."

China is the defending World Cup team champion, defeating the United States in the championship finals dual meet by a 4-3 margin. At the 2008 World Cup, the United States upset the perennial power Japan in the pool competition, 4-3. The USA also defeated Ukraine during the 2008 Women's World Cup.

The dual meet pairings for the World Cup have not yet been determined, and will set when the teams arrive in China.


Taiyuan, China, March 21-22

U.S. team roster

48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Clarissa Chun, Tokyo, Japan (Sunkist Kids)

51 kg/112.25 lbs. - Helen Maroulis, Rockville, Md. (New York AC)

55 kg/121 lbs. - Leigh Jaynes, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

59 kg/130 lbs. - Deanna Rix, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC)

63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Elena Pirozkhova, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC)

67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Adeline Gray, Denver, Colo. (USOEC)

67 kg/147.5 lbs. - Erin Clodgo, Richmond, Vermont (USOEC)

72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Stephany Lee, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids)

Coaches - National Women's Coach Terry Steiner of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Assistant National Women's Coach Izzy Izboinikov of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Keith Wilson of Colorado Springs, Colo.

Women's World Cup Schedule

Saturday, March 21

9:30 a.m. - Competition sessions 1 and 2

4:30 p.m. - Opening Ceremonies

5:30 p.m. - Competition sessions 3 and 4


Sunday, March 22

10:30 p.m. - Fifth and Seventh Place dual meets

5:00 p.m. - Third Place dual meet

6:00 p.m. - Championship dual meet

Author: Gary Abbott


USA Wrestling



World champion Clarissa Chun finishes second in USOC Athlete of the Month voting

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. &endash; Clarissa Chun, who became just the fifth U.S. women's freestyle wrestler to capture a World championship, finished second in the U.S. Olympic Committee's voting for female Athlete of the Month.

The USOC announced ski jumper Lindsey Van (Park City, Utah) and BMX biker Donny Robinson (Napa, Calif.) as its October Athletes of the Month, while the U.S. Men's Speedskating Short Track Relay Team received Team of the Month honors.

Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) won a gold medal in the 48 kg/105.5 lbs. division at the Women's World Championships on Oct. 12 in Tokyo, Japan.

Chun, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, came back strong after placing fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Chun went 4-0 at the 2008 World Championships. She swept Kazakhstan's Jyldyz Eshimova-Turtbayeva 1-0, 1-0 in the finals. She downed two-time World bronze medalist Makiko Sakamoto of Japan in the semifinals.

Athlete of the Month Results:


1. Lindsey Van, Skiing

2. Clarissa Chun, Wrestling

3. Arielle Martin, Cycling - BMX

Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) has been named TheMat.com Wrestler of the Week for Oct. 7-13, 2008

Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) has been named TheMat.com Wrestler of the Week for Oct. 7-13

Each week, TheMat.com will select an Athlete of the Week, based upon performance within wrestling for that week. The selection committee will consider any level of wrestling, from youth programs through the Senior level.

Chun won a gold medal at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. at the Women's World Championships, held in Tokyo, Japan, October 11.

She became only the fifth U.S. women's wrestler to win a World gold medal, joining Tricia Saunders (4 times), Kristie Marano (2 times), Sandra Bacher and Iris Smith as Women's World Champions.

Chun pulled out a gritty 1-0, 1-0 gold-medal finals win over Kazakhstan's Jyldyz Eshimova-Turtbayeva to claim the title. She scored a point on the clinch from the defensive position in the first period, then scored a counter takedown in the second period for the win.

Chun won four matches during the day. She opened the tournament with a pair of pins, putting away Kaya Demet of Turkey and Pei-Ching Tsai of Taipei in her first two bouts.

In the semifinals, she scored a come-from-behind 0-1, 3-0, 1-1 win over Makiko Sakamoto of Japan. Chun scored a takedown with 11 seconds left in the match to win the deciding third period.

Chun led the U.S. to a fourth place finish in the World Championships. Also winning a bronze medal for the USA was 17-year-old Tatiana Padilla at 55 kg/121 lbs.

Chun was competing in her second World Championships, after being a member of the 2000 U.S. World Team. A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Chun competed at Missouri Valley College before becoming a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete.

2008: Women's Freestyle World Championships - First place - Gold Medal - 48 kg

WORLD CHAMPION!!!! American Clarissa Chun strikes gold by winning title at World Championships

TOKYO, Japan - Clarissa Chun knew she needed to make some changes.

Fourth in the 2007 U.S. World Team Trials, Chun knew she needed to become stronger and improve her conditioning if she was going to make a serious run at landing a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team.

Chun's commitment and focus paid off in ways maybe she couldn't have even imagined a year ago. Two months after placing fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games, Chun turned in a superb effort to capture a gold medal at the World Championships on Sunday night.

Chun relied on her defense in pulling out a gritty 1-0, 1-0 finals win over Kazakhstan's Jyldyz Eshimova-Turtbayeva at the Women's World Championships on Sunday night at Yoyogi National Stadium.

The 27-year-old Chun becomes just the fifth American to win a World title in women's freestyle wrestling. Chun, from Honolulu, Hawaii, won the first period from the defensive position in the clinch before countering and going behind the Kazakhstan wrestler for the only takedown of the second period.

"It's definitely exciting to win a World title," Chun said. "It's great to come back and win this after what happened at the Olympics. It feels great to be called a World champ, and I want more."

The powerful, 20-year-old Eshimova-Turtbayeva placed second in the 2008 Junior World Championships. Chun had reached the finals by downing past World bronze medalist Makiko Sakamoto of Japan in the semifinals at 48 kg/105.5 lbs.

Chun's transformation in 2008 came under the direction of her coach, Keith Wilson, who was in Chun's corner during this tournament. Chun jumped into Wilson's arms just moments after winning her World title.

"We changed her training a little bit," Wilson said. "We thought she could win if she did a few things differently. We dedicated ourselves to each other, and she listened to me and trained and she did what I asked her to do. She put the time in and everything clicked. She changed her weight program and her diet. She did a lot of work to become more explosive. She built up her cardio. That made a big difference for her. Instead of losing matches because she's tired, she's scoring points at the end of matches and winning those scrambles."

Chun was the only U.S. Olympian among the four women that competed in Beijing who wrestled in the Worlds.

"She lost a heartbreaker at the Olympics - it was rough," Wilson said. "She had the bracket from hell and wrestled toe-to-toe with everybody. That tournament gave her confidence and let her know she was right there with the best wrestlers in the World. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. She's got a lot of great wrestling left in her if she decides to commit to this for another four years."

Chun became the first American since Iris Smith in 2005 to win a World title. In addition to Chun and Smith, Tricia Saunders won four World titles for the U.S., Kristie Marano won two and Sandra Bacher one.

Chun, who trains in Colorado Springs and wrestles for the Sunkist Kids, grew up in Hawaii. She is part Japanese and part Chinese. She plans to stay in Japan after the Worlds and teach English to elementary school students in Japan.

American Alaina Berube lost in the first round of the Repechage on Sunday afternoon and fell short of placing at 63 kg/138.75. Berube rolled to a 7-1 first-period win over Hanna Beliayeva of Belarus and had taken a 1-0 lead in the second period. But Beliayeva hit a headlock midway through the second period and recorded a fall to advance to the bronze-medal match.

Day 3 of the three-day tournament is set for Monday with competition at 55 kg/121 lbs. and 72 kg/158.5 lbs. The U.S. will send Tatiana Padilla (Azusa, Calif./Sunkist Kids) to the mat at 55 kilos with Stephany Lee (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) set to compete at 72 kilos.

Padilla will face Sofia Pompouridou of Greece in her first bout and Lee will take on five-time World champion Kyoko Hamaguchi of Japan. Hamaguchi won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics.




Sunday's medalists


48 kg/105.5 lbs.

Gold - Clarissa Chun (USA)

Final Gold Medal Match

Silver - Jyldyz Eshimova-Turtbayeva (Kazakhstan)

Bronze - Makiko Sakamoto (Japan)

Bronze - Guibei Su (China)


U.S. results - Sunday, Oct. 12, Tokyo, Japan


48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Clarissa Chun, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids), 1st

WIN Kaya Demet (Turkey), by fall

WIN Pei-Ching Tsai (Taipei), by fall

WIN Makiko Sakamoto (Japan), 0-1, 3-0, 1-1 (Youtube Video)

WIN Jyldyz Eshimova-Turtbayeva (Kazakhstan), 1-0, 1-0


Clarissa Chun - Wikipedia

2008 Beijing Summer Olympics | Clarissa Chun Profile & Bio, Photos

Chun, who placed fifth in the Olympic Games last month in Beijing, China, swept Alyssa Lampe in a pair of hard-fought matches in the finals. She looks like a legitimate threat to win a World title next month. Chun made her second World Team and will be the only U.S. wrestler in Japan with experience at a World Championships.

Chun is the only member of the four-athlete U.S. Olympic women's freestyle wrestling team from Beijing who competed at the Trials. Chun had the lead late in her semifinal match at the Olympics against two-time World champion Chiharu Icho of Japan before falling.

Chun, Murata among finalists at U.S. World Team Trials for women's freestyle

Craig Sesker USA Wrestling


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - 2008 Olympian Clarissa Chun shook off a slow start to move into the finals of the U.S. Women's World Team Trials.

Chun overcame an early three-point deficit to charge back and defeat Junior World Team member Victoria Anthony 5-3, 4-0 in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Chun, fifth in the Olympic Games last month in Beijing, China, advances to face Alyssa Lampe in the best-of-3 match series in the final round at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. The finals are scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

Chun is the only member of the four-athlete U.S. Olympic women's freestyle wrestling team from Beijing who has entered the tournament. Chun had the lead late in her semifinal match at the Olympics against two-time World champion Chiharu Icho of Japan before falling.

"I want to compete in the Worlds - just to get that shot again," Chun said. "I'm lucky to have another opportunity so close to the Olympics. I want to win a World title."

The winners at the Trials qualify for the World Championships. The World Championships for women's freestyle will be held Oct. 11-13 at Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. The World Championships are being held in the seven women's freestyle weights, because only four weights were contested at the Olympic Games for women.

Also reaching the final round are World silver medalist Stephanie Murata (51 kg/112.25 pounds), Junior World silver medalist Tatiana Padilla (55 kg/121 lbs.), World Team member Leigh Jaynes (59 kg/130 lbs.) and World University bronze medalist Alaina Berube (63 kg/138.75 lbs.).

World University champion Elena Pirozhkov (67 kg/147.5 lbs.) will meet Junior World champion Adeline Gray (67 kg/147.5 lbs.) in the finals at 67 kg/147.5 lbs..

Two-time World University champion Stephany Lee and 2005 World champion Iris Smith will battle in the finals at 72 kg/158.5 lbs.

Murata will meet 2008 Junior World bronze medalist Helen Maroulis in the final round.


48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Clarissa Chun, Colorado Springs (Sunkist Kids) vs. Alyssa Lampe, Tomahawk, Wis. (Sunkist Kids)

Olympian Clarissa Chun hoping to receive another shot at gold at World Championships


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Women's freestyle wrestler Clarissa Chun figured this might be it.

The 2008 season likely would be her last on the wrestling mat.

But after landing a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team and narrowly missing winning a medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, the 27-year-old Chun is giving serious consideration to wrestling another four-year cycle.

Chun, fifth at the 2008 Olympics at 48 kg/105.5 lbs., is expected to return to the mat next week for the U.S. World Team Trials for women's freestyle wrestling. The event is set for Sept. 20 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

The winners in each of the seven weight classes from the World Team Trials will qualify for the World Championships for women, set for Oct. 11-13 in Tokyo, Japan. The women are holding a World Championships this year since only four of the seven international weights for women were contested in the Olympics.

"It's a little tough mentally because nothing's guaranteed - I have to try out again just to make the U.S. team," Chun said. "But I want to compete in the Worlds - just to get that shot again. I'm lucky to have another opportunity so close to the Olympics."

Wrestling the best of her career, Chun surprised many wrestling observers by knocking off Olympic and World medalist Patricia Miranda to make the U.S. Olympic Team in June.

Chun continued to wrestle well at the Olympics, storming into the semifinals opposite two-time World champion and Olympic silver medalist Chiharu Icho of Japan. Chun held the lead with just under a minute left in the match before Icho prevailed 1-0, 0-3, 1-1. Icho won by virtue of scoring last.

"That match really drives me," Chun said. "It's tough to even think about, but it's something that definitely motivates me."

Chun then lost to Olympic and World champion Irini Merlini of Ukraine in the bronze-medal match.

Chun recently watched the match with Icho on NBC's Olympic Website.

"I can't do anything about it now, and I'm not making any excuses," she said. "I did learn a lot from that match and that will help me. Hopefully, I will have better mat strategy and I will minimize the mistakes in the future."

Since competing in the Olympics, Chun spent time visiting the school in Japan where she hopes to teach English to elementary students later this fall. She also spent a handful of days in her native Hawaii before recently returning to Colorado Springs, where she lives and trains.

She was back on the mat this week at the Olympic Training Center, preparing for the World Team Trials. Among the wrestlers Chun likely will have to battle for a spot on the U.S. World Team is Sara Fulp-Allen, who placed third at the 2008 Olympic Trials.

Chun is looking to compete in her second World Championships. She did not place at the 2000 World Championships.

"Even though I came up short of winning a medal, wrestling at the Olympics helped build my confidence," she said. "I know I'm not that far away."

The 2012 Olympic Games in London may seem far away, but it is something Chun already has thought about.

"Being part of the Olympics, it was an amazing experience," she said. "I really thought I was going to be done after this year. But because my Olympic experience was such a positive one, I want to do this again. Nothing is guaranteed, but I want to have another shot at being an Olympian. Sometimes I think, 'Oh my gosh, four years is a long time' but it's worth it to be able to experience being in the Olympics."

Updated at 8:17 p.m., Friday, August 29, 2008

Monday's Parade of Champions honors many

Youtube Video

From the Waipi'o Little League champs to soccer player Natasha Kai, the special Parade of Champions will begin at 5 p.m. on Labor Day in Waikiki.

The parade includes marching bands from 'Aiea, Mililani and Waipahu high schools, the Royal Hawaiian Band, and Olympic champions Clairssa Chun in wrestling; Robyn Ah Mow-Santos in volleyball; Jared Heine in swimming; Anju Jason in taekwondo; Richard "Sonny" Tanabe, 1956 swimming; Barbara Perry, 1968 volleyball; Kathy Hammond, 1972 track; Verneda Thomas, 1964 volleyball; Kevin Asano, 1988 judo; the 2008 National Bobby Sox 6U champions; and the USSSA World Series Baseball U10 O'ahu Dirtbags.

Olympian decathlon gold medalist Bryan Clay will appear via video at the special Sunset on the Beach event at Queen's Surf Beach at 6:45 p.m.

Chun places fifth at 48 kg in Olympic women's freestyle on Saturday

Wikipedia Tournament Bracket Results


Bronze medal - Irini Merlini (Ukraine) pin Clarissa Chun (USA), 2-0, 1:06

First period - Chun came out strong with motion. An attempted arm throw by Chun was countered and Merlini scored the first takedown, 1-0. Merlini tied up Chun with upperbody techniques. Merlini hit an arm spin and after a scramble, she came out with a takedown at 1:35, 2-0.

Second period - Merlini went upperbody again and shucked Chun by to get a takedown in the first 20 seconds, 1-0. Chun hit a one-point arm throw to tie it at 1-1. Merlini rebounded to take Chun down and put her on the back and pinned her at 1:06.

U.S. performances on Saturday

48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Clarissa Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids), 5th place

First match - Clarissa Chun (USA) dec. Sofia Mattsson (Sweden), 2-1, 4-1

Quarterfinals - Clarissa Chun (USA) dec. Vanessa Boubryemm (France), 6-1, 2-1

Semifinals - Chiharu Icho (Japan) dec. Clarissa Chun (USA), 1-0, 0-3, 1-1

Bronze medal match - Irini Merlini (Ukraine) pin Clarissa Chun (USA), 2-0, 1:06

Chun going for bronze

By the Associated Press

Posted Friday, August 15, 2008 8:36 PM ET


BEIJING (AP) - Clarissa Chun put world champion Chiharu Icho on her back for three points in the first second of an overtime Saturday, a move that caused audible gasps from a Chinese crowd accustomed to watching Japan women wrestlers dominate every match.

What a move. Then, what a letdown.

Chun's showcase throw wasn't enough as the wrestler who wasn't supposed to make the U.S. team lost to the Olympic favorite 1-0, 0-3 (OT), 1-1 on tiebreaker in the 48-kilogram semifinals, the toughest loss by an American wrestler in Beijing so far.

Icho, the sister of 63 kg favorite Kaori Icho, trailed 1-0 in the third period before driving Chun off the mat for the decisive point. When the score is tied at the end of the period, the second and most-used tiebreaker is the last wrestler to score.

Chun, who upset 2004 bronze medalist Patricia Miranda at the U.S. trials two months, came tantalizingly close to the biggest victory by an American women's wrestler since the sport gained Olympic recognition.

"I definitely think I could have won that match, no doubt," said a red-eyed Chun, who nearly broke into tears several times during a post-match interview. "I should have given more, attacked more. I got caught up in her tie-ups and her pushing on me. I should have, I don't know, fought harder, I guess."

Chun won her first two matches convincingly, beating Sofie Mattsson of Sweden and Vanessa Bourbyemm of France, but Icho is a world apart from them. Before beating Chun, Icho - nine seconds away from losing - pinned 2004 Olympic champion Irini Merlini of Ukraine.

To win a bronze medal later Saturday, Chun may have to beat Merlini, who beat Icho in Athens to win the gold. Icho wrestles Canada's Carol Huynh, who came through an easy bracket, for the gold.

As well as Chun wrestled, U.S. coach Terry Steiner said there were lapses that kept the 26-year-old former Hawaii high school wrestler from moving on.

"She scored early and then had a lapse and then she'd come back, then she'd find a way to get it going again," Steiner said. "You can't have those lapses. It cost us in the match against Icho. ... [She] let up again at the edge of the mat and got driven out of bounds. You can't do that against a veteran against Icho."

Marcie Van Dusen, who created medal hopes at 55 kg by ending Japanese star Saori Yoshida's 119-match winning streak earlier this year, was eliminated after losing her quarterfinal match to Colombia's Jackeline Renteria.

Renteria lost in the semifinals, and only the wrestlers who lose to the finalists get the chance to wrestle for the bronze.

Van Dusen almost didn't get out of the first round, scoring with two seconds left in the second period to avoid losing to Nataliya Synyshyn of Ukraine. Van Dusen never got going in her next match.

"We were rushing and it seemed like we were panicking and flowing all over the place," Steiner said of Van Dusen. "We're better than that. We need to tighten up and not be so panicky out there."

Yoshida, a five-time world champion and Athens gold medalist, has a tough gold-medal match against China's Xu Li.

Olympian's uncle dedicates magic show

Updated: Aug 14, 2008 12:27 PM

Kelvin Chun

By Kristine Uyeno

NUUANU (KHNL) -- Hawaii's own Clarissa Chun will soon make her Olympic debut in wrestling. To celebrate, her uncle held a very magical show for her at Nuuanu School.

"Tomorrow's a big day for her, she has practiced all her life and focused on on the Olympics," said Kelvin Chun, her uncle.

He dedicates all these tricks from his magic show, to his niece.

On Friday, she hits the mat in Beijing and competes in the 105-lb. division for wrestling. But of all things, why would her uncle honor her this way? Because Clarissa had an interest in magic, when she was younger.

Clarissa would grow up to be the first, female, wrestling state champ while at Roosevelt High School. Now the Kapolei resident is in China for the biggest performance of her life.

"She's more focused so she doesn't want any distractions so she wants to focus on the matches and practice hard and train hard and everything," said Chun.

Kelvin hopes the students understand the message he tries to send to them, to focus on their goals and reach for the stars, like Clarissa. Because they too, can have a magical future.

He says Clarissa will hit the mat on Friday at 3:30 p.m. HST.

Updated at 1:53 a.m., Thursday, August 7, 2008

Clarissa Chun's return to China a business trip



Gannett News Service


BEIJING - In the short amount of time she's been in Beijing this time around, Clarissa Chun has felt awed and awkward.

She's in the land of her paternal ancestors to wrestle in the 48-kilogram weight class during the Beijing Olympics, and quite confident she can claim a gold medal. Chun, a Roosevelt High alum, has delighted in visiting China before; the only issue is that she doesn't speak Chinese.

"I wish," she said at a press conference today, hiding a smile as she covered her face with her hands. "That's just so terrible, because my last name is Chun so they know that I'm Chinese, and all the Chinese people ask me if I speak Chinese and I'm like, 'No,' and they all laugh at me. I hope I'm not insulting them."

Chun only arrived here Wednesday, but her early impressions have been very favorable.

"Oh my gosh, the Olympic village is beautiful," Chun said. "I think I expected the worst - I expected really bad air quality, I expected 100-degree weather, 90-percent humidity, and when I came, it was just so nice. As we were driving by, the streets were clean, the flowers were all pretty. Not like how I remembered it in 2002.

"They said in Athens (in 2004), things weren't ready and everything, and I heard in China, the buildings were done so fast. They're hard workers and I know they do get things done."

Chun is something of a hard worker herself. She readily admitted she didn't even hear of women's wrestling until after she graduated high school. The sport joined the Olympics in 2004, and Chun is making her Olympic debut buoyed by a first-place finish at the Olympic team trials, where she knocked off Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda in the finals.

"I learned a lot from Olympic trials," Chun said. "Anyone could have faced Patricia Miranda and just conceded to her because she's a great athlete. I respected her, but not so much where I didn't believe I could beat her. After I beat her that just gave me more confidence and a lot of energy in preparing for Beijing and the Olympic Games. I'm ready for the world."

Chun, 26, said she will have seven friends and five family members in Beijing to cheer her, though not her paternal grandmother, an octogenarian who isn't up to the travel. It is from this woman Chun learned so much about her heritage while in Hawaii.

"My grandma is really old-school Chinese," Chun said. "I remember growing up doing spirit days, where we go to the graveyard and honor my great-grandfather, my grandfather, my great-grandma. I remember folding fake money and putting it in bags and sewing up the bags, and at the graveyard they would have bins and they would light the bins on fire and burn the money."

Chun wants to see the Temple of Heaven once she's done competing, and return to the Great Wall. Over the coming days, though, her focus will be on her training, and maximizing what she believes are her advantages.

"I move a lot," she said. "Me having a judo background, I know how to throw. I like being very offensive on my feet, so I'll take shots. I've been working on my defense, so I feel like I'm ready to go."
American women back on mat without medal winners

By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer Aug 14, 5:04 am EDT

BEIJING (AP)&emdash;Sara McMann was good enough for silver in the first Olympics with women's wrestling. She wasn't good enough to make this U.S. women's team.

Patricia Miranda took home a bronze from Athens in 2004 yet, like McMann, was beaten in the U.S. trials two months ago. So was two-time world champion Kristie Marano.

That's a lot of potential medals lost, and a whole lot of pressure on the wrestlers in Beijing who are replacing them, to match or surpass the two medals won in four weight classes in 2004.

Ask the wrestlers who were good enough to get here, and they'll tell you that energy and enthusiasm can be as important as experience in a sport that remains in its infancy. One, too, that many Americans have never seen in person since so few colleges and high schools offer the sport.

The American women hit the mats starting Saturday for the two-day Olympic competition, with Clarissa Chun (48 kilograms) and Marcie Van Dusen (55 kg) up first. Randi Miller (63 kg) and Ali Bernard (72 kg), both wrestling in their first senior-level world championship, go on Sunday.

"The names may change, but the results must stay the same," U.S. coach Terry Steiner said. "Since the last Olympics, we've had four more years (to build). … We are ready. We are very capable."

This retooled team, with none of the four Olympians from Athens, may get a good idea Saturday of how it will do.

If Chun and Van Dusen medal, it could give momentum to Miller and Bernard, who have far less international experience.

Van Dusen, 10th in the world in 2007, became known internationally when she ended Olympic champion Saori Yoshida's 119-match winning streak in a World Cup tournament in January.

"I heard she wanted a rematch so I thought I'd come back and give her one," said Van Dusen, who has studied Yoshida on videotape for endless hours. "I know I can beat the best in the world and now I have the evidence to prove it. So I'm ready to give her that rematch. Let's do it again, Yoshida."

Chun, nearly 27, could never seem to get past Miranda, but dominated her longtime nemesis in the U.S. trials. That makes her confident she can make a big push in a weight class controlled by two-time world champion Chiharu Icho of Japan since she lost the gold to Ukraine's Irini Merlini in Athens.

"I'm going to close everything out, close out the bright lights, I'm not going to look for anyone in the stands," said Chun, who competed in Hawaii for one of the few high schools with girls wrestling. "I'm going to go on that wrestling mat like I did for trials."

Her coach, Keith Wilson, is certain what will happen if she does.

"I don't think they're ready for the level she's bringing," Wilson said. "I don't think, honestly, there's too many girls right now that, when she's wrestling her best, bring the game she brings."

Chun, who is 4-foot-11, has been mistaken for a gymnast several times and a judo team member in the Olympic Village, but no one has pegged her as a wrestler.

"They're profiling me," she said, laughing.

Miller's victory over three-time world medalist McMann might have been the most impressive in the women's trials. Now, the wrestler for her to beat will probably be Japan's Kaori Icho, Chiharu's sister and the world champion every year since she won in Athens.

Bernard is from Minnesota and, because of the scarcity of U.S. colleges who offer her sport, is wrestling in Canada.

"I can go back to juniors and beat up on the juniors," Bernard said. "I've got to come together now and show it on the senior level on the big stage."

The 72-kg favorite is two-time world champion Stanka Zlateva of Bulgaria. The 2004 Olympic champion, Wang Xu, was recently bumped from China's team by the 20-year-old Wang Jiao.

Beijing may be the final event for Kyoko Hamaguchi, a bronze winner in 2004 and the daughter of one of Japan's best-known pro wrestlers.

Posted on: Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Upset paved way for Chun into Isle history

Honolulu Advertiser

Roosevelt alum is first wrestler from Hawaii to earn trip to Games

By Kalani Takase

Advertiser Staff Writer

At the U.S. Olympic wrestling team trials in June, Clarissa Chun, a diminutive athlete from Hawai'i, gained the admiration of fans and media alike by staging a huge upset of seven-time national champion and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda.

In the process, Chun, who stands 4 feet 11, fulfilled a lifelong dream, becoming the first wrestler from Hawai'i to qualify for a U.S. Olympic team.

"I was so overwhelmed after I won the trials," Chun said in a USA Wrestling story. "I was so excited, happy, everything. I thought I was going to cry, but I didn't ... To be able to perform like that was amazing."

Chun will compete in the 48-kilogram (105.5 pounds) division in the women's freestyle competition.

Chun, a 1999 Roosevelt graduate from Kapolei, is making her first trip to the Olympics as a competitor after traveling to Athens as an alternate in 2004.

Chun won state wrestling titles for the Rough Riders in her junior and senior seasons before attending Missouri Valley College, where she helped kick start the Vikings' first women's wrestling program.

In 2002, Chun made the move to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., where she has been since.

She went 3-0 to set up a rematch of the 2004 trials final against Miranda. Chun was the fourth seed in the tournament as a result of placing fourth at the U.S. Senior Nationals earlier in the year. It was at that tournament, where Miranda beat her in the semifinals, that Chun began the turnaround that led to adding Olympian to her resume.

"It's kind of weird and kind of crazy to think about it," Chun said. "It is great when people call you an Olympian. It's really cool to hear that ... It's a great feeling."

Chun, who is half Chinese, will have a difficult task ahead if she is to medal in Beijing. Two-time defending World Champion, Chiharu Icho of Japan and Ukraine's Irini Merlini, who is the defending Olympic gold medalist, are two of the favorites in the weight class. China's Xueceng Ren, who lost to Icho in the finals of the Asian Championships this year, is another front runner as the 2005 World Champion.

Chun, who has a communications degree from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, is planning to teach English to kindergarten students in Japan after the Olympics. For now, she is focused on wrestling.

"I want to win an Olympic gold medal. I feel really confident right now and I've wrestled well against a lot of the top girls in my weight class," said Chun. "I've wrestled in the World Championships, so I'm not going to be overwhelmed or intimidated by the big stage of the Olympics. I've been training my whole life for this opportunity. I will be ready."

Trip to Olympics in China no surprise to Chun


The transition went smoothly for Clarissa Chun. After eight years of judo success, she traded her gi for a singlet and won two state wrestling titles at Roosevelt High.

Clarissa Chun

However, the next transition - that of U.S. National Wrestling Team member to U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team medal hopeful - is not quite complete. Chun (Roosevelt '99) still finds it hard to believe that she will be in Beijing next month.

"It hasn't sunk in," she said. "I still ask myself, 'Did it really happen?'"

Few believed the 26-year-old could pull off the upset of upsets at last month's Olympic Trials in Las Vegas. While top-ranked and three-time reigning national champ Patricia Miranda had a bye into the 48kg (105.5 pounds) final, the 4-foot-11 Chun had to win three challenge matches.

The Star-Bulletin profiles Hawaii's athletes competing in next month's Beijing Games

It set up a rematch of the 2004 trials final that the 5-foot Miranda won, advancing to the Olympic debut of women's wrestling, where she took the bronze. Chun was an alternate, going to Athens and gaining motivation.

At the U.S. Nationals earlier this year, Chun again lost to Miranda in a semifinal match so close many thought Chun had won. Chun eventually finished fourth but felt that she could beat Miranda the next time they would meet.


» Full name: Clarissa M.L.K. Chun

» Birthdate: August 27, 1981

» High school: Roosevelt (1999)

» Hometown: Kapolei

» Event: Women's freestyle 48kg (105.5 lbs)

» Olympics: Second (2004 alternate)

» Competition date: Aug. 16

» Career highlights: Two-time high school state champion (1998, '99). Four-time U.S. World Team trials runner-up (2000-03), third in '05. U.S. National champion (2006), runner-up (1999, 2000, '03, '04) and third (2007).

» Fun fact: Chun is listed as the second-smallest U.S. Olympian (4-11, 105 pounds). Gymnast Shawn Johnson is 4-8.

» Tomorrow: Kim Willoughby, volleyball.

It happened last month, with Chun winning the best-of-three match 2-0.

"I knew I could do it as long as I stayed focused," Chun said. "But I was still surprised. Even the next day I was, 'Oh, my gosh. I beat her twice.' It was revenge after what happened in 2004. Everyone expected her to win. She even thought she'd make the team."

Instead, Chun will make her third trip to China. In 2002, she traveled to Beijing with her Missouri Valley College team on an exchange program; in 2006, she went to the World Championship as a training partner.

That her ancestors are from China helped fuel her desire to make this Olympic team.

"It was part of my motivation," said Chun, who burst onto the national scene when placing second as a 17-year-old at the U.S. Nationals. "That was the first point. The second is I've been training all my life, have been competing since I was 7.


Part 1: Taking the path of humility

Part 2: All Brooks is missing is a medal

"I've always wanted to be in the Olympics since the first time I saw them on TV. And when they announced in 2002 that women's wrestling would be in the Games, my dream was one step closer."

Only four weight classes are being contested at the Olympics and competition is expected to be very tough in all.

In the 48kg are Japan's Chiharu Icho, the two-time defending world champion and 2004 silver medalist; Ukraine's Irini Merlini, the 2004 gold medalist; and 2005 world champion Xueceng Ren of China. Other contenders are Mayelis Caripa of Venezuela, Canadian Carol Huynh, Sofia Mattsson of Sweden and Maria Stadnyk from Azerbaijan.

"I feel my chances for a medal are good," Chun said. "I think I'll be right up there as long as I stay focused. I can do this. I have trained hard for this.

"I'm lucky in that my competition (Aug. 16) is in the middle of the Games so I can participate in the Opening Ceremonies. I'm just excited and happy my family can be there."

Chun's rooting section will include her parents and brother and sister-in-law. She said some of her high school friends were also trying to make the trip.

One friend who will be there is Taylor Takata ('Iolani '00), who made the Olympic judo team the same day Chun made the wrestling team. The Olympic Trials for USA Judo and USA Wrestling were held concurrently at the Thomas & Mack Center at UNLV last month.

"I knew Taylor through judo and then we'd see each other at the (U.S. Olympic) Training Center," Chun said. "I wanted to watch his competition, but I had to focus on my own.

"I did talk to him during warm-ups. We said, 'Let's do this, let's represent Hawaii.' And now we are. People forget about us, being in the middle of the ocean. It's great to be able to put Hawaii on the map. I'm so proud to represent my family and Hawaii."

As for the future, Chun said it depends on how she fares at the Games. She's still interested in teaching English in Japan but may put that on hold to compete at the wrestling world championships later this season.

There's also a thought about one of her new interests. Chun augments her wrestling by training at a mixed martial arts facility in Denver.

"I'm a big fan of MMA," she said. "I have friends who compete and I have access to train that way. I don't know if I'll do that, though."

Olympian Clarissa Chun ready to make run at gold medal in Beijing


by Craig Sesker - USA Wrestling - July 28, 2008

Photo: Getty Images

Clarissa Chun (red) wrestles Patricia Miranda (blue) in the Championship match for 48 kg during the USA Olympic trials for Wrestling and Judo on June 13, 2008.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Clarissa Chun walked off the mat with tears in her eyes after one of the most crushing setbacks of her career.

Chun had fallen short of making the historic first U.S. Olympic women's freestyle wrestling team after losing to Patricia Miranda in the finals of the 2004 Olympic Trials in Indianapolis.

A short time later, U.S. National Coach Terry Steiner provided the words that fueled Chun's fire the past four years.

"Your time will come," Steiner told Chun back in 2004. "Your time will come."

Chun's time has come, and in a big way. Chun reversed her fortunes from 2004 by stunning the heavily favored Miranda on June 13 in Las Vegas to make the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team at 48 kg/105.5 lbs.

"I was so overwhelmed after I won the Trials," Chun said. "I was so excited, happy, everything. I thought I was going to cry, but I didn't. I may have teared up a little bit. To be able to perform like that was amazing."

Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) now advances to wrestle at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Chun, whose father is Chinese and mother is Japanese, is scheduled to compete in the Olympics on Aug. 16.


Chun, a 2000 World Team member who grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, placed fourth at the 2008 U.S. Nationals. But Chun did throw a bit of a scare into Miranda in their semifinal matchup. Chun won the first period before Miranda came back to win the next two.

The pint-sized, 4-foot-11 Chun, who looks more like a gymnast than a wrestler, came back with a determined effort at the Olympic Trials. She stormed through the Challenge Tournament, knocking off past World Team member Mary Kelly in the finals.

She then advanced to the best-of-3 finals series against Miranda, who earned a berth in the finals by virtue of winning U.S. Nationals.

Chun won the first match 4-0, 0-6, 3-1 before capturing the second bout by a 1-0, 3-1 score. Miranda won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and is a two-time World silver medalist.

Chun was cradled in the second period of the first match, but somehow fought off her back. She then regrouped to win the decisive third period and win the match.

"When she got that cradle, I was like, 'Oh crap, I can't get pinned here,'" Chun said. "I just kept fighting and fighting. I knew I had won the first period and all I needed was one more period to win the match. I was able to come back in the third period."

The 26-year-old Chun was in her first season of freestyle wrestling when she competed at the 2000 World Championships.

"I was really young and I was really intimidated out there," she said. "I think having gone through that will help me when I get out there at the Olympics."

Chun nearly made the 2006 World Team before falling to Kelly in a Special Wrestle-Off for the spot on the U.S. squad.

Chun has made significant gains while training with her coach, Keith Wilson, at the Colorado Fight Factory in Colorado Springs.

"A lot of it has been mental in working with Keith," Chun said. "He's taught me to believe in myself and he's given me a lot of positive reinforcement that I could win the Olympic Trials. He's taught me to stay focused for all three periods."

An emphasis on conditioning also has been a key for Chun.

"I have worked really hard on that," she said. "That comes in handy when you're in shape. I wasn't tired at all when I wrestled Patricia. I felt great in the third period."

Chun's performance at the Olympic Trials impressed her coaches as well.

"Clarissa needs to stay inside herself and not get caught up in the hype of the Games and wrestle," Steiner said. "She has great movement and ability. She needs to make sure she is wrestling her kind of matches - a lot of attempts and motion."

Chun has wrestled nearly everyone in her division that will compete in the Olympics at 48 kilos.

"Clarissa has a great chance to medal and win," Steiner said. "I feel that when you make the U.S. team you are tested and ready to win. There is no person out there that outclasses us. We just need to put it together on the right day."

Chun said her natural weight is right around 106 pounds.

"I don't cut any weight," she said. "I think that helps me because I'm always feeling good when I train. I don't have to worry about watching my weight like a lot of the other girls."

Chun started competing in swimming when she was 5 years old before taking up Judo a couple of years later. She started wrestling as a junior in high school.

Chun, who graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with a degree in communications, is planning to teach English to kindergarten students in Japan during the 2008-09 school year.

Chun said she likely will continue to train and compete after the Olympics.

Chun said it is starting to sink in now that she's an Olympian.

"It's kind of weird and kind of crazy to think about it," she said. "It is great when people call you an Olympian, it's really cool to hear that. I could get used to this. It's still hard to believe I beat Patricia in two straight matches. I'm still kind of like, 'Did I really beat her?' It's a great feeling."

Chun said she will have a large contingent of family and friends, including her parents, watching her from the stands in Beijing.

"I want to win an Olympic gold medal," Chun said. "I feel really confident right now and I've wrestled well against a lot of the top girls in my weight class. I had a really good tournament at the Olympic Trials, but I know I can wrestle better at the Olympics. I've wrestled in the World Championships, so I'm not going to be overwhelmed or intimidated by the big stage of the Olympics. I've been training my whole life for this opportunity. I will be ready."


Video Footage:

Fox News: June 18, 2008

Female Freestyle

Fight Game: Clarissa Chun sits down with Mike Straka to discuss women's MMA and the US Olympic Wrestling Team

"Never Stop Wrestling"

Audio Interview:

At 2008 Olympics, diversity goes to the mat

U.S. Olympic Team honored at Fuel the Dream Sendoff Reception in Bernardsville, N.J.

Gary Abbott USA Wrestling


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chun took circuitous route to top

LAS VEGAS - Not many people had a weekend like Clarissa Chun. Not even in Las Vegas.

Chun, a 26-year-old from Kapolei, is Hawai'i's newest Olympian after she won the women's freestyle wrestling 105.5-pound division at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling and Judo.

A year ago Chun rededicated herself to the sport that she loved and a coach that saw a world of potential in her.

However, the 1999 Roosevelt graduate began the journey that will take her to Beijing long before that.

Chun took up judo at the now-defunct YBA Judo Club in Honolulu when she was 7. It wasn't until her junior year at Roosevelt that she began wrestling.

"I was actually on the swimming, water polo and judo teams," said Chun, who qualified for the state swimming championships as a sophomore. "I was a sophomore and it was kind of heartbreaking to see freshmen winning, you know. It was hard for me."

Before girls wrestling was added as a high school sport, it was not uncommon for girls to wrestle on the boys team, Chun said.

"Wrestling was something new, so I just thought I'd try it out and I loved it from the start," she said.

Chun, who is the first wrestler from Hawai'i to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team, also captured a state title in 1998, the first year girls wrestling was a sanctioned sport.

After winning state titles in her junior and senior seasons, Chun took a leap of faith that led her to Marshall, Mo., nearly 4,000 miles from home.

She accepted a partial scholarship from Missouri Valley College, which was starting a women's wrestling program.

"They sent me a scholarship packet in June," Chun recalled. "Prior to that I didn't plan on going anywhere for wrestling. I mean, I had no idea about freestyle wrestling."

Missouri Valley presented a unique opportunity.

"The timing was perfect. If that program didn't open up at that time, who knows if I would have been here right now," Chun said.

After three years at Missouri Valley, Chun made the move in 2002 to Colorado Springs, Colo., home to the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Women's wrestling had just gained Olympic recognition, in time for the 2004 Summer Games and Chun immediately set her sights on Athens.

"They had a training camp in May. Just to see basically who was serious about the program," Chun said. "I filled out applications for residency and I moved in June."

Like many athletes, Chun experienced her share of heartbreak, none worse than losing in the finals of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

"I've been competitive since I was 7," Chun said. "So I never like to lose, but that was tough."

Training and living at the OTC took its toll, too.

"When all you do is train; things can get stagnant," Chun said. "There are a lot of people, all with the same goals, who are all serious about training."

Despite experiencing her share of success - she won the University Nationals in 2001, 2003 and 2004 in addition to another gold at the 2006 U.S. Senior Nationals - Chun wanted more.

"I didn't do so well at the 2007 World Team Trials," she said. "I knew that I needed to change something."

That's when she got reacquainted with Keith Wilson.

"He actually has been coaching me since 2002, but I totally committed myself to training with him this past year," Chun said.

Wilson, a volunteer coach at the OTC, runs the Colorado Fight Factory, a mixed martial arts training facility in Colorado Springs.

"When I first saw her, she was this little girl," Wilson recalled. "She was undefined physically and she hadn't been in a world class level of sport. I knew she had the potential to be great then.

"I told Clarissa from day one that she has natural, God-given ability and there's not a girl that can hold a candle to you. You've been given a gift, but you're wasting it if you're not using it the right way," Wilson said.

As her training continued, the improvements came.

"At (senior) Nationals (in April), she almost put everything together," Wilson said. "There she got a taste of it. She believed for the first time that she was good enough."

Chun finished fourth at the tournament, losing to Patricia Miranda, who was also the wrestler that beat her for the Olympic berth in 2004.

"You know to Miranda's credit, if not for her, Clarissa wouldn't be at that level now," Wilson said. "(Chun) had to raise her game just to compete with Miranda. She pushed her to excel her game and made her work on the areas where she was weak."

Despite beating Miranda just once back in 2002, Chun's confidence was sky-high heading into the trials and it showed in her early matches.

Chun disposed of contenders such as Sara Fulp-Allen, the 2005 Senior National champion, and Mary Kelly, who was ninth at the 2006 World Championships, to set up a rematch with Miranda in the best-of-three finals. Chun only needed two.

"It's been coming. She's been close. Sometimes when a bad call happens, Clarissa used to get flustered and loses focus," Wilson said. "It finally stuck. She beat one of the top competitors in women's wrestling in the world. She was a step ahead the whole time; she brought it to a different level. She's ready now to compete on the international level, in the big show in the Olympics and she proved that this weekend."

Chun, who was swarmed by the media following her upset victory, calls the experience surreal.

"I'm still in shock," she said. "I still can't believe it. I want to watch the video because half of me doesn't even know what happened."

Women's wrestling has grown into an Olympic sport


The Kansas City Star

Clarissa Chun, a former Missouri Valley wrestler, celebrated after defeating Patricia Miranda and earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic women's wrestling team during the trials at Las Vegas.

Olympic wrestling trials may be the end of the line for BV Northwest grad Roberson

Summer Games countdown: 54 days until the Beijing Olympics

LAS VEGAS | With her tiny but strong frame, Clarissa Chun would pass more easily as a gymnast than a wrestler. Standing up, the 4-foot-11 dynamo is just a tad taller than Olympic folk hero Rulon Gardner when he's sitting down.

The two talked for quite a while Saturday at the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials, with Chun intently soaking up all the advice the 2000 Summer Games gold medalist offered. It was a scene that illustrated what you might call the "democracy" of wrestling - there's a place for everyone, no matter how large or small.

And for that matter, no matter your gender.

"We love them," Gardner said about the emergence of the women's side of the sport. "It's all about wrestling, and sharing that self-discipline, desire and dedication. You go out there and put that on the mat, and it doesn't matter if you're a guy or a girl. You are a wrestler."

Women's wrestling became an Olympic medal sport in 2004, and that's expanded wrestling's horizons. Women began wrestling at international-level competitions in the late 1980s. Now, the sport has grown tremendously with a participation level that made it viable to be included in the Summer Games.

The Show-Me State has had a significant impact on women's wrestling, specifically Missouri Valley College in Marshall. The school started its women's wrestling program in 1999, one of just a few colleges in the country to provide an opportunity for females to compete at that level and receive some scholarship money.

Chun graduated from high school in Hawaii that year. She had started wrestling at age 16, but didn't think there was much chance she would continue. Then she got a scholarship packet from Missouri Valley, and it changed her life.

On Friday here at UNLV's Thomas and Mack Center, Chun was one of four women to earn a berth into the Beijing Games.

"It's been an incredible journey; an amazing experience," she said. "I get to travel the world because of wrestling."

Speaking of traveling, she wasn't too worried about what she was getting into when she left Honolulu for Missouri nine years ago. Was it a bit weird and difficult to get used to? Sure, but it was an opportunity she didn't want to pass up.

"There were some other people there (at Missouri Valley) from Hawaii," Chun said. "And we helped each other feel at home. It is a good program and has helped the sport."

Girls high school wrestling is officially sanctioned in Hawaii, Texas and Washington. California and Oregon are among the states that are close to joining them. There are not the required 20 varsity programs at the college level for it to get NCAA status, but there are collegiate national championships.

Missouri Valley won the team title in that event in 2004 and 2005 and was third in this year's meet in March. Here at the Olympic trials, there were 10 competitors who either have attended or are attending Missouri Valley.

"For them to pioneer a program, I think that was awesome," said Missouri Valley alum Tori Adams, a Texas native who finished third here in the 138.75-pound weight class. "We needed people to step up and say, 'Let's give girls and women the opportunity.' I want to say thank you to them."

Women have four weight classes in the Olympics, and Chun is in the smallest: 105.5 pounds. After winning the challenge tournament during the day, she upset 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda in Friday evening's finals, a best two-of-three series.

The whole match - I don't even know how it happened," Chun said. "It was just 'in the moment.' I'm so happy. I'm surprised I didn't cry. This is awesome; my family came all the way from Hawaii to watch. I'm glad I could do it for them."

Gardner, who gained acclaim in the 2000 Olympics when he defeated "unbeatable" Russian Alexander Karelin for a Greco Roman gold, also won a bronze in the 2004 Summer Games. He told Chun during their chat on Saturday to relish her accomplishment for a couple of days.

"It's going to be a little scary for her - she's going to be excited and then a little overwhelmed," Gardner said of her facing the trip to Beijing. "For now, take it in, enjoy it. Have fun knowing you're on the Olympic team. But next week, it's time to get back to work."

Gardner also looked ahead to when women's wrestling competitors won't even recall that it was such a huge "breakthrough" just to be included in the Olympics. They'll just feel they always belonged.

"When you start wrestling, the picture is this big," Gardner said, holding his arms wide apart. "The better you get, the more talented, that picture gets a lot smaller. It's about fine-tuning.

"Right now, the women are starting to fine-tune and realize they do feel comfortable out there. These wrestlers now are part of the great movement to build the sport. Then they may become coaches and help the next generation."

The Rear Naked Choke

Another first for The RNC!

Joe & Ted were joined by an amazing female athlete, Olympic wrestler Clarissa Chun, who is the first USA wrestler from Hawaii to make the Olympic team.  She will be representing the Stars & Stripes in Beijing in a few weeks!


Chun competes at 105.5 pounds and has been spending a lot of time preparing for the Olympics by training MMA with the likes of MMA pros Donnie Liles and Keith Wilson.

She won the 105.5-pound finals by upsetting reigning U.S. champion Patricia Miranda.  After the upset, she gave much of the credit to her MMA training.

Of course, her focus is on taking home the gold in Beijing, but a future in MMA is something she won't rule out, and she talked about it with Joe & Ted, although she admitted "I don't like to get punched in the face."

Clarissa and her Team USA Wrestling mates will be in the NYC area Thursday, June 19 & Friday June 20 in an effort to raise funds so their families can see them compete in Beijing.  GET INVOLVED!  FUEL THE DREAM! 

Olympic Gold Medal Hopeful Clarissa Chun Credits MMA for Recent Upset

June 16, 2008 By: Sam Caplan Category: Clarissa Chun

I'm not really a big fan of the Olympics, as I think the whole concept is one of the biggest con jobs in the history of sports.

That being said, I will still be tuning in with great interest when it comes to the Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling events. I'm interested in how the wrestling events will play out because I believe it could potentially spawn one-to-two MMA superstars.

Yes, I realize the Olympics have taken place several times since MMA's arrival in the United States in 1993, but the sport of MMA is at an apex in popularity right now. I think more MMA fans than ever will be keeping tabs on the results of the wrestling events.

Think about it: Kurt Angle was a household name following his improbable gold medal run at the '96 games. What if MMA had been as popular then as it is now and he went right into the sport as opposed to eventually getting involved with pro wrestling?

With so many national promotions out there right now looking for an instant superstar, if a wrestler catches fire and manages to capitavate the attention of the mainstream sports fan, he could receive a very lucrative offer.

Or maybe I should also add "she" to that previous sentence?

That's because females will be competing in wrestling in Beijing between August 12-21. In fact, four females just qualified for the team on Friday at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. Marcie Van Dusen, Randi Miller, Ali Bernard, and Clarissa Chun will all be representing the United States during the 2008 Olympics.

But Chun is the name to watch. Much like Mo Lawal, Chun has been spending a lot of time preparing for the Olympics by training MMA. Before failing to qualify for the fames, Lawal had been going back and forth between the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs and Team Quest in Temecula, Calif.

Meanwhile, Chun is based in Colorado Springs but spends much of her time training with MMA pros Donnie Lyles and Keith Wilson at The Fight Factory (not to be confused with the Fight Factory in Philadelphia).

Chun won the 105 lbs. finals by upsetting reigning U.S. champion Patricia Miranda. After pulling off the upset, she gave much of the credit to her MMA training.

"I love all the training aspects of MMA, and it was a big help in improving my strength and flexibility in getting to this point," Chun was quoted as saying after the event. "I think most people here feel that a good MMA training regimen helps get you ready for all the rigors of international wrestling competition. It is a reason for why I made the Olympic team."

Right now, Chun is focusing on winning gold in August. However, she's not ruling out MMA as a career option afterwards.

"Beijing is a dream and my total focus, and after that I wouldn't rule out anything," she said. "MMA training is essential to being well rounded and if it leads me to a pro career afterwards we will see."

Is Clarissa Chun the next great female MMA superstar? In her words, don't rule anything out.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Takata, Chun Beijing-bound

LAS VEGAS - Taylor Takata's dream has become reality.

For that matter, so has Clarissa Chun's

Chun, a 26-year-old from Kapolei, beat longtime rival Patricia Miranda to punch her ticket to Beijing. Chun also avenged a loss to Miranda in the finals of the 2004 trials.

"I'm so happy. I was almost going to cry (on the mat)," Chun said. "It's been an incredible journey, but it's all worth it."

Chun, a 1999 Roosevelt graduate, becomes the first wrestler from Hawai'i to earn a spot on a U.S. Olympic Team.

"In 2004, I was an alternate and I got to go to Athens and see everything and I was jealous, I wanted to be there," Chun said.

Chun was the third seed in the Challenge Tournament, which Miranda - who won a bronze medal at the Athens Games - sat out as the senior national champion, to set up the best-of-three final.

Miranda beat Chun at April's Senior Nationals in a controversial match.

"A lot of people told me after that I won that match," Chun said. "I drew confidence from that."

Chun won the first bout, taking two of the three 2-minute periods. In the second match, the two wrestled to a scoreless tie after one period. Chun won the period on a tie breaker. She successfully defended Miranda's takedown attempt for 30 seconds to win it.

"I heard her say that my head was down, so I knew that she was asking for that point," Chun said. "I just knew that I could not give up that point, because if she doesn't score then I get the point and win the tie breaker."

Chun held off another takedown try by Miranda in the second period, which also drew controversy. The referee ruled that Miranda did not earn any takedown points and that the wrestlers were in a neutral position. However, the decision did not go over well with Miranda's coach, who requested - and received - a video-replay review with 22 seconds left in the period.

"My coach told me 'Just wrestle.' Even though I had won the first match, I just kept thinking it was zero-zero," said Chun.

Chun sealed the win - just her second over Miranda and first since 2002 - with a quick takedown at the restart and ran out the clock to take the second period and match.

Chun, a three-time University Nationals champion, beat Alyssa Lampe by technical fall in the quarterfinal round, then topped Sara Fulp-Allen, two rounds to one, in the semifinals. She also beat Mary Kelly in the Challenge Tournament final in two rounds.

USA Today

Wrestler Chun stuns Miranda to clinch Olympic berth

LAS VEGAS -Patricia Miranda, an Olympic bronze medalist in 2004, came into this year's U.S. Olympic trials as the clear favorite in the 105.5-pound class of women's freestyle wrestling. Clarissa Chun had other plans.

In a major upset Friday night, Chun beat Miranda in the first two matches of their best-of-three final series to clinch a 2008 Olympic berth. The 4-foot-11 Chun leaped into the arms of her coach, Keith Wilson, after her victory at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Chun was beaten by Miranda in the finals of the 2004 trials. She lost to her this year at U.S. Nationals. Was she as shocked by Friday night's outcome as most others in the building?

"I am and I'm not," said the 26-year-old native of Hawaii, who trains with USA Wrestling in Colorado Springs.

"I knew that I could do it. I just really had to do it. I had to just grit my teeth and just do it. I'm so excited and happy."

While Miranda had a bye into the final, Chun had to first win the nine-wrestler Challenge Tournament Friday afternoon. Seeded third in the tournament, Chun defeated fourth-seeded Mary Kelly of Gaffney, S.C., in the final.

At U.S. Nationals this year, Miranda beat Chun in a tight match in the semifinals. Miranda went on to a national title, which gave her the bye into the finals here Friday night. Chun placed fourth at nationals.


That semifinal defeat gave Chun confidence.

"It was controversial. It was a very close match. Some people say I won it," she said.

"It didn't turn out that way, but I was really confident from that, believing in myself that I could do it. . . . I was like, 'This is my time. I've been sitting on the back burner for way too long.' "

The format for international wrestling has undergone major change since the 2004 Olympics.

Instead of wrestling six-minute matches with two three-minute periods, each match now consists of potentially three periods of two-minutes each.

Each period is scored independently. The first wrestler to win two periods wins the match. No points carry over from period to period. Each period is a mini-match unto itself.

In their first match Friday night, Chun beat Miranda 4-0, 0-6, 3-1. In the third period, Chun got her winning points in the final seconds.

In the second match, Chun won 1-0, 3-1. Trailing 1-0 in the second period, Chun scored the three points that made the difference in the final 10 seconds. She executed a double-leg takedown that exposed Miranda's back to the mat for the three-point move.

Chun said her coach had told her to "be stubborn on the mat, don't give up if you're down by one."

She didn't give up Friday night. "I was just in the moment, and it happened, and I'm so glad," said Chun.

Also clinching Olympic berths Friday night in the other three women's weights eligible for the Games were Marcie van Dusen of Lake Arrowhead, Calif. (121 pounds), Randi Miller of Arlington, Tex. (138.75) and Ali Bernard of New Ulm, Minn. (158.5).

The lone Olympic berth in men's wrestling decided Friday night went to Spenser Mango of Florissant, Mo., in the 121-pound class of Greco-Roman.


Chun and Takata make Olympic teams

Star-Bulletin Staff



LAS VEGAS >> Two Hawaii athletes -wrestler Clarissa Chun and judoka Taylor Takata -earned berths on U.S. Olympic teams tonight at the Thomas and Mack Center.

Roosevelt High graduate Chun won in a stunning sweep of 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda,

Five American wrestlers: Chun, Spenser Mango, Marcie Van Dusen, Randi Miller and Ali Bernard punched their tickets to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The Olympics for wrestling are scheduled for Aug. 12-21.

Chun, a past World Team member, pulled off a shocking upset over the heavily favored Miranda in a rematch of the 2004 Olympic Trials. Chun(Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) powered straight in on a double-leg shot in the closing seconds of the second match to clinch the championship in women's freestyle at 48 kg/105.5 lbs.

Chun won the Olympic Trials after placing fourth at U.S. Nationals.

In his second attempt at the judo trials, the top-seeded Takata, an Iolani graduate, defeated Jeremy Liggett of New York by waza-ari in the 66 kg final. He got past Tanner Singh in the first round and Justin Flores in the semifinals to reach the final.

Chun stuns Miranda on night of sweeps at U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Craig Sesker USA Wrestling



LAS VEGAS - It was a night of sweeps, and surprises, at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

All six best-of-3 finals series ended in sweeps, including Clarissa Chun's stunning sweep of 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda, on the first of three nights at the Olympic Trials on Friday night at the UNLV's Thomas and Mack Center.

Five American athletes - Chun, Spenser Mango, Marcie Van Dusen, Randi Miller and Ali Bernard - punched their tickets to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The Olympics for wrestling are scheduled for Aug. 12-21.

Chun, a past World Team member, pulled off a shocking upset over the heavily favored Miranda in a rematch of the 2004 Olympic Trials. Chun (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids) powered straight in on a double-leg shot in the closing seconds of the second match to clinch the championship in women's freestyle at 48 kg/105.5 lbs.

Chun won the Olympic Trials after placing fourth at U.S. Nationals.

"I can't believe this - this is incredible," Chun said. "I knew I could do it and I had to do it. I just had to grit my teeth and do it. I'm so excited. I did it."

Clarissa Chun becomes first Hawaii wrestler to make Olympic team


By Kalani Takase

Advertiser Staff Writer


LAS VEGAS -Coming into this weekend's U.S. Olympic Team Trials, no person from Hawai'i had ever made a U.S. Olympic team for wrestling. Clarissa Chun made sure that changed.

The 26-year old from Kapolei won the 105.5-pound women's freestyle division tonight at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas defeating 2004 Olympic bronze medalist -and long-time rival -Patricia Miranda twice in as many matches to punch her ticket to Beijing.

"I'm so happy. I was almost going to cry (on the mat)," Chun said. "It's been an incredible journey, but it's all worth it."

Chun, a 1999 Roosevelt graduate, was the third seed in the Challenge Tournament, which Miranda sat out as the senior national champion, to set-up the best-of-three final.

Chun won the first bout, taking two of the three two-minute periods. In the second match, Chun took the first period, 1-0, on a tiebreaker and a late takedown helped her win the second period 3-1.

Chun beat Alyssa Lampe by technical fall in the quarterfinal round, then topped Sara Fulp-Allen, two rounds to one, in the semifinals. She then beat Mary Kelly in the Challenge Tournament final in two rounds.



Age: 26

Height: 4-11

Weight class: 48 kg. (105.5 pounds)

Hometown: Kapolei (Roosevelt '99)

Wrestling out of: Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club/Olympic Training Center (Colorado Springs, Colo.)


Kapolei's Clarissa Chun, a veteran of the mat at 26, is also set to compete in Friday's trials. Chun, a 1999 Roosevelt graduate, is the third seed in the 105.5-pound division.

"I feel like I've learned a lot through the years of competing. Not just my technique, but mentally, too, I've been able to improve," she said. "At the same time, you can't look past any of the young ones, because they come out with a lot of heart and fire."

Chun's first match is against a familiar foe in sixth-seeded Sadie Kaneda of Honolulu.

"Her sister and I grew up friends, so I've known Sadie since grade school," Chun said. "It's always not fun to wrestle someone you care about, especially someone from the Islands."

Chun, who earned a degree in communications at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, has spent the last six years at the Olympic Training Center.

She took fourth at the Senior Nationals after capturing gold at the Pan American Games. In addition, she previously beat top-seeded Stephanie Murata, pinning her in a February tournament in Ukraine.

"That was a confidence boost," Chun said. "I was disappointed with how nationals went, but the trials are what matters."

Chun sees the chance to represent the U.S. in China as a homecoming of sorts.

"Everyone grew up watching the Olympics," Chun said. "Plus, I'm half-Chinese so I would kind of take it back to my roots if I made it to Beijing."


Chun, Lee grab gold at Pan Am wrestling

Advertiser Staff


Hawai'i's Clarissa Chun and Stephany Lee won gold medals yesterday at the Pan American Wrestling Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Chun, a Roosevelt High alum, beat Ingrid Cuellar of El Salvador to win the 105.5-pound division. Lee, a Moanalua High alum, defeated Rosangela Conceicao of Brazil in the 158.5-pound division.

"I thought Stephany Lee had a good tournament," said U.S. national women's coach Terry Steiner. "Clarissa Chun found a way to win. She didn't feel good today, but she got through it. That is what you have to do."

In weight classes where the U.S. already has Olympic berths, the championships served as confidence builders for gold medalists like Chun and Lee.

"There are a few things I need to tweak," Lee said. "But overall, I feel good about my wrestling."

Chun won despite recovering from a sinus infection. "It feels great," she said. "This is my second hometown. I live here in Colorado Springs (at the U.S. Olympic Training Center). I am able to wrestle in front of family and friends."

PAN AM FEATURE: Chun and Lee seek tough competition in their Olympic quest

Elizabeth Wiley USA Wrestling


The U.S. women's freestyle wrestling program is growing in depth and ability every year. This creates a higher level of competition within each weight class domestically and internationally.

Two wrestlers competing at the Pan American Championships, Stephany Lee and Clarissa Chun, find themselves in deep weight classes where they must battle for a chance to compete on the big stage, the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Lee is a 2004 World University champion. She has also been successful at numerous other international competitions, but shares that distinction with the other wrestlers in her weight class.

"We definitely have a veteran group in this weight class," U.S. National Women's Coach Terry Steiner said. "Kristie Marano is a nine-time world medalist, Iris Smith was a 2005 World Champion, Ali Bernard is a two-time Junior World champion, and Stephany was a World University champion. It's not going to be an easy road for any of them."

As part of the women's freestyle team at the 2008 World Cup, Lee went 2-1, beating opponents from Japan and China and helping the U.S. squad claim the silver medal. Lee's performance at the World Cup earned the attention of the coaches, as she was a large part of the team's success.

"She showed me a lot at the World Cup," said Steiner. "When the spotlight was on her and we needed her to win, she stepped up. She is definitely a gamer."


Lee faces a tough fight at 72 kg/158.5 lbs, particularly with three other wrestlers that are as qualified to compete as she is.

"At this weight there is definitely some depth," U.S. Women's Resident Coach Vladislav Izboinikov said. "I think there are three or four women that if we had to select a team right now we could take, and they would all do well. Stephany is one of those four."

At 48 kg/105.5 lbs, Chun may be considered even more of an underdog. In 2004, she finished second at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials behind eventual Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda, just one spot from competing to Olympics.

"This weight class has a good combination of experience and youth, a good mixture," said Izboinikov. "Clarissa is definitely one of the experienced wrestlers. She was a second at the Olympic Trials in 2004. I would definitely consider her an underdog."

Chun finds herself again fighting for a chance to compete at the Olympics, this time in Beijing. She must overcome an incredibly tough weight class, including three women ranked ahead of her at 48 kg/105.5 lbs. Also in this division is World silver medalist Stephany Murata, 2006 World Team member Mary Kelly and former U.S. Nationals champion Sara Fulp-Allen. Miranda will be dropping down to this weight class this winter, seeking another chance for an Olympic medal.

"The biggest thing is Clarissa has to have a belief in herself," Steiner said. "She definitely has the ability to make it. She has some parts to her wrestling that girls in her weight don't have."

Lee and Chun, both members of the Sunkist Kids, are competing at the 2008 Pan American Championships, getting in competition against some of their top international opponents.

"This is a great chance to get some more experience," said Steiner. "The Pan American Championships don't come around everyday. You definitely want to win when you have a chance."

Chun went 2-0 in the first session at the tournament. With victories over Susana Almeida of Brazil and Lindsay Rushton of Canada, she advanced to the finals to face Ingrid Cuellar of El Salvador. She is focused on getting the most out of the competition as she works towards the Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling.

Winning her first match of the day against Rosangela Conceicao of Brazil, Lee is also working towards a first place finish at the Pan American Championships.

Both women are focused on this competition and what it means for them as they work towards the Olympic Trials in June.

"It's great, to be able to wrestle different styles, to wrestle people from all over the world," Chun said. "It's good practice, too. You can work on everything, not just on the mat, but also mental preparation, before you get on the mat, getting ready for the match. It's also a lot of fun to get out there and wrestle."

After so much success at the World Cup, Lee is looking forward to a chance to face different international opponents.

"It's good to wrestle women from this side of the world," said Lee. "I competed at the World Cup and saw some of the wrestlers from over there. I just want to get variety in."

Lee is wrestling in a round robin style tournament, and must win against Jaresmit Weffer of Venezuela and Ohenewa Akuffo of Canada to give herself a chance at a gold medal.

Ultimately, though, this is just one step in the road as Chun and Lee focus on June and the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Both women relish the challenge of competing in tough weight classes.

"Nothing's better than wanting to win the toughest weight class in the tournament. Well, one of the toughest weight classes. Those heavy weights could beat me down," said Chun.



Chun wrestles for World berth

Advertiser Staff

Kapolei's Clarissa Chun will challenge her nemesis, national champion Patricia Miranda, in a best-of-three wrestle-off today to see who will represent the United States at the World Championships of women's wrestling in September.

Chun, a 1999 Castle High graduate, and Miranda, a Stanford graduate, are both permanent wrestlers-in-residence at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and have both been members of the U.S. National Team. But Chun has never beaten Miranda in a major event.

She earned the right to try again yesterday by winning the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament at Indianapolis. Today's series takes on added significance because their weight class, 105.5 pounds, is one of four that will be included when women's wrestling makes its Olympic Games debut next year in Athens.

Yesterday, Chun took a 7-2 lead over Mary Kelly of Mahomet, Ill., in the Challenge final, scoring five points on two hip tosses. But Kelly stormed back and closed to the final score of 7-6 with a 2-point lift with 2 seconds left.

University Women National Championships


St. Joseph, MO


1st - Clarissa Chun, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Gator WC) dec. Mary Kelly, Chanute, Kan. (Neosho County), 11-6

Posted on: Monday, April 14, 2003


Roosevelt grad Chun captures national wrestling championship

Advertiser Staff

Hawai'i's Clarissa Chun won a championship and Stephany Lee and Donell Bradley took second-place medals yesterday at USA Wrestling's Women's University National Championships in St. Joseph, Minn.

Chun, a 1999 Roosevelt High graduate who is a resident at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, rallied to win the 48kg (112.25 pounds) final, 11-6, over Mary Kelly of Chanute, Kan.


Hawai'i wrestlers win titles at trials


Advertiser Staff


Clarissa Chun of Kapolei and Katie Kunimoto of Kane'ohe won championships in the USA World Team Trials Challenge Tournament last night in St. Paul, Minn. Their victories, Chun in the 105.5-pound weight class and Kunimoto at 112 pounds, propelled them into best-of-three series today against the current U.S. Nationals champions. The winners earn a position on the U.S. World Team. Chun pinned high-school phenom Mary Kelly of Mahomet, Ill., in 4 minutes, 3 seconds. Chun will wrestle against U.S. Nationals champion Patricia Miranda of Stanford today. Kunimoto decisioned Danielle Hobeika of Cambridge, Mass., 5-1, and will meet national champion Jenny Wong of Stillwater, Minn., today. Chun wrestles for Missouri Valley College and Kunimoto for Pacific (Ore.) University. They are 1999 graduates of Roosevelt and Castle, respectively, and former state high school champions. Three other Hawai'i wrestlers had fifth-place finishes in their weight classes: Laura Obuhanych of 'Ewa Beach, Jill Remiticado of 'Aiea, and Donnell Bradley of 'Aiea.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Two Hawai'i women invited to live at Olympic Center

By Dennis Anderson

Advertiser Staff Writer

Two pioneers of girls wrestling in Hawai'i are being invited to be pioneers of the USA Olympic program.

Katie Kunimoto, left, and Clarissa Chun will report to the Olympic Training Center between Aug. 15 and Sept. 1, and remain residents as long as they are considered Olympic Games prospects.

Deborah Booker - The Honolulu Advertiser

They are among 20 athletes who will be the first full-time women's wrestling residents at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The resident program is being initiated by USA Wrestling because women's wrestling will make its debut as an Olympic sport at Athens, Greece, in 2004.

Invitations were mailed yesterday by USA Wrestling to Clarissa Chun, a 1999 Roosevelt High graduate from Kapolei, and Katie Kunimoto, a 1999 Castle High graduate from 'Ahuimanu.

"Wow!" Kunimoto squealed when The Advertiser informed her Monday of her invitation.

Dave Bennett, the national developmental coach who helped select the residents, said: "I've been around this sport a long time, and I can't honestly say I ever thought of Hawai'i as being a state that produced a lot of elite wrestlers. All of the sudden they are coming on the scene."

(2001 St. Louis graduate Travis Lee, an All-American at Cornell this year, will train with the USA men's World Team in Colorado Springs next week.)

Chun and Kunimoto were runners-up in their weight classes last month in the USA World Team Trials in St. Paul, Minn. Chun was a member of the USA World Team last year.

Chun was invited to join the resident program even though she underwent surgery June 26 to repair a left anterior cruciate ligament that was torn in January and aggravated at the World Team Trials. She may not be cleared to wrestle until November, but she can continue her rehabilitation and do other conditioning. "We want her here to take advantage of the Olympic Center's resources," for rehabilitation, Bennett said.

The athletes will report to the Olympic Training Center between Aug. 15 and Sept. 1 and remain residents as long as they are considered Olympic Games prospects.

"Clarissa has been performing very well all along," Bennett said. "She had a real good camp (prior to the World Team Trials) and it wasn't easy, with her knee. She had to prove she could put things like (the injury) behind her. She has a good future."

Katie Kunimoto, in action at a dual meet between Pacific and Simon Fraser.

Photo courtesy Katie Kunimoto

Chun's biggest obstacle, Bennett said, is that "she is not very big. Most girls cut weight to make 105.5 pounds, but Clarissa doesn't weigh 103 most days."


Of Kunimoto, Bennett said, "Katie came out of nowhere last year; she wasn't ranked. ...

"She came to our first women's camp for five weeks (in May and June) and showed us that she's a rapid learner, has good athletic ability, a good work ethic and she's mentally tough. ... She wants it.

"Before practice and long after practice, you will see her on the mat working on some skill we have been teaching her."

Kunimoto, who has only been doing freestyle (Olympic style) wrestling for two years, said: "I got a taste of being in the Olympic program at the camp. There was a big difference in my skill before and after the camp. They taught a lot of good technique and strategy."

After the camp, Bennett said, "I've gained a lot of respect for the work ethic of the girls."

Of the residency program, he said: "Putting these girls in this kind of environment will improve them, and raise the level quality of women's wrestling. As they have success, it will attract more girls."

Chun came from a judo background, winning five junior national championships before she tried wrestling in her junior year at Roosevelt. She and Kunimoto won championships at the first Hawai'i state high school girls wrestling tournament in 1998. Chun repeated in '99, while Kunimoto was second to Moanalua's Shelley-Ann Tomita.

Chun went on to win numerous championships and honors with the nation's top-rated women's collegiate program at Missouri Valley and with the women's national team.

Clarisa Chun, had the advantage over Julie Gonzales of San Francisco State at the U.S. Open Nationals in Las Vegas in April.

Photo courtesy Clarissa Chun

She already has extensive international experience, winning three silver medals in the Pan American Championships in Columbia, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, wrestling for the U.S. in the first women's World Cup in France last November (she went 3-3) and an international tournament in Sweden (gold medal), and against the Chinese national and army teams on a college team trip to Beijing in June.

She only let the torn ACL keep her off the mat about a month. "They told me I was crazy, to take it easy, but I couldn't," she said. But it did affect her performance this spring.

Kunimoto went to the University of Hawai'i, which has no team, and made the cheerleading squad in her freshman year. She was offered a wrestling scholarship at Cumberland (Ky.) College in 2000-01 and took it. But the coach left and she transferred again to Pacific (Ore.) at the urging of Jill Remiticado, another Hawai'i girls wrestling pioneer, to join the first varsity team there.

While Chun will transfer to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Kunimoto is reluctant to become a triple-transfer and said she may wait to finish her double major in political science and philosophy at Pacific.

She might change her mind when her residents' packet arrives and she learns that all Training Center residents are eligible for annual educational grants up to $15,000 from the federally funded B.J. Stupak Olympic Scholarship Program.

OVERTIME: Residencies were offered to women in seven weight groups, although the 2004 Olympic Games will have only four. Katie Kunimoto will have to go up or down from her 112-pound group.... There will be three residents in Clarissa Chun's 105.5-pound group and two at Kunimoto's weight.... The wrestlers who beat them for championships at the World Team Trials will be residents.... Three other women from Hawai'i - Jill Remiticado and Donnell Bradley of 'Aiea and Laura Obuhanych of 'Ewa Beach - placed fifth in the Challenge Tournament preceding the World Team Trials.... First event for the USA will be the World Championships in Athens Nov. 2-3. The Pan American Games, foreign tours, U.S. Nationals and other prestige events also are on their calendar.


Clarissa Chun

- Hawai'i state high school champion, 1998-99

- U.S. Collegiate Nationals champion 2000

- Silver medal at Pan American Championships, 2000-01-02

- Won international open in Sweden 2001

- Won international open in Phoenix 2001

- U.S. University Nationals champion 2001

- Fourth place, U.S. Nationals 2002

- Runner-up at USA World Team Trials, 2001, 2002

- Represented USA in first Women's World Cup 2001 in Levalois, France

Current weight class: 48 kg (105.5 pounds)

Wrestle Girl

Pinning Down a Dream

For Clarissa Chun, the path to Olympic Gold runs through Marshall


By JUSTIN WILLETT of the Tribune's staff

Published Sunday, December 23, 2001

The women are hyped for their first home match of the season.

Missouri Valley College wrestler Clarissa Chun, right, pushes back Kera Pemberton, her opponent from Neosho County Community College, during a match earlier this month. Chun is the third-ranked women's wrestler in the United States in her weight class. She spent November traveling to Paris, Bulgaria and Colorado to compete in the World Cup and World Championships, and to train at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs

While only about a third of the Missouri Valley College women's grapplers are competing this early December night, the rest of the team is in the stands and no less excited than their counterparts on the mat.

Only a handful of the women are wrestling, because the Neosho County Community College team that traveled to Marshall from Kansas is new and could only bring seven wrestlers. The Missouri Valley squad is just happy that a team was willing to make the trip.

Usually it's the big teams that come to town; the smaller schools don't want to come a long distance just to get their butts kicked by the top-ranked women's wrestling team in the nation.

To make matters worse for the Neosho team, Clarissa Chun takes the mat first for Missouri Valley. Ranked third in the nation in the 46 kilogram - or 101 pound - weight class, the 4-foot 9-inch junior doesn't look too imposing, but her record does.

Chun was a two-time Hawaii Girls State Wrestling Champion and finished third in the 1999 U.S. Girls High School National Championships. After winning or placing in the top three spots in many national and international tournaments while at Missouri Valley, Chun holds down the No. 2 spot on the U.S. national team.

This ranking means that the 20-year-old Chun will likely be one of the top American contenders in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, in the first games to include women's wrestling.

As the two begin their match, the Neosho wrestler pulls Chun's long dark hair out of its neat ponytail and into her eyes. Chun's teammates begin heckling her opponent while encouraging their friend as the two combatants fling each other to the mat.

"Let's go, Chun," they yell.

"Suck it up, Chun," one of them calls out.

Chun laughs with her teammates after winning her match against Pemberton. The close-knit team holds two-hour practices six days a week. Chun estimates that she spends nine hours a day, counting class, with her teammates. "We hang out all the time," she said.

After a few moments of standing head to head battling for position, Chun gains the advantage, makes a quick move and drops her opponent to the mat. In a swirl of blue and red, the unfortunate Neosho wrestler is bent in half, her face pressed to the mat and her feet swinging in the air behind her. You can see the pain on her face; she begins crying as Chun holds her tight.

After the referee blows the whistle, ending her poor opponent's torture, Chun smiles as her teammates cheer.

It's not that she enjoys hurting people; she's just doing what she loves to do.

Although new to the Olympics, women's wrestling isn't a new sport; it's just been slow to develop in the United States.

More than 80 nations host women's wrestling competitions and FILA, the international wrestling federation, has held the Women's World Freestyle Wrestling Championships since 1987.

Coach Mike Machholz wipes Chun's face during a brief break in her match against Kera Pemberton of Neosho. Maccholz, a former wrestler, started the women's program three years ago. It was the first scholarship program for women in the sport in the country.

While only about six American universities and colleges have varsity teams, women's wrestling is one of the fastest growing sports for young women. As states follow Michigan, Texas and Hawaii and establish high school championships for girls wrestling, club programs and other youth programs flourish.

The Missouri Valley program, which was the first scholarship program in the nation, grew out of the success of the men's program and out of an effort to advance the sport of wrestling.

Mike Machholz started both programs at the 1,300-student private college. A Marshall native, Machholz was a state wrestling finalist at Marshall High School. He wrestled at William Jewell College in Liberty, but transferred to Missouri Valley after a knee injury. After earning a business degree from the college he began working in the admissions office there.

When his supervisors began looking for a way to increase enrollment, Machholz got an idea. He told the administrators that he could get 30 young men to the school who would never otherwise come to Marshall - if Missouri Valley established a wrestling program.

That venture was so successful that Machholz made the same proposal three years ago, this time offering to attract women to the school. "I told the president that we'd get 20 women who wouldn't otherwise come here," he said.

But because women's programs were relatively new and unproven, Machholz knew he'd have to live up to a higher standard.

"We're going to have to have a pretty high-powered program," Machholz recalled saying at the time, "or it would be looked down upon."

High powered is what he got. Against Neosho, his wrestlers took six of the seven matches.

The women on the Missouri Valley wrestling team distinguish themselves by their hard work.

Coaches Mike Maccholz and Greg Woodring charge the mat shouting directions as Clarissa Chun watches a teammate compete. As one of the few remaining members of the Missouri Valley College's first team, Chun offers newcomers advice on how to improve in practice and during their matches.

While women on other teams also practice daily, attend classes and tournaments in far-flung places, the Missouri Valley women have the added pressure - and scrutiny - of being the best.

Their coach said that after the team's organization was announced people on campus wondered whether the women would look like gorillas and beat up everybody. Perceptions have changed.

"There has been a lot of respect gained in the last couple years," Machholz said.

The team has been featured in USA Today, Sports Illustrated, in judo and extreme sports magazines and on ESPN. That helped get the word out about women's wrestling and helped establish the team as the best.

Now the women are seen with admiration and even jealousy by some of their peers on campus and in Marshall. "They get a lot of props, but they earn them," Machholz said. "We've told them that they're very much under the microscope. Not only are they the first women's program; they're supposed to be the best."

Machholz said that while women have several disadvantages to overcome when they begin wrestling, they are equipped to overcome them. Women aren't as strong as men and usually haven't been wrestling as long, he said.

"Girls are more like a sponge," Machholz said. "They're eager to learn and their egos aren't quite as big as some of the males."

One of the women's' seeming disadvantages actually benefits them. Because there are fewer women wrestlers, each grappler has a better shot at competing in the Olympics.

"They've got an unbelievable opportunity right now," Machholz said. "We brought them here with the pretense that we'd get them ready for 2004."

Born in Hawaii to a Chinese father and Japanese mother, Chun was immersed in sports from an early age.

Around age 7, Chun was an established swimmer. But she soon tired of watching her brother bring home judo trophies - she could only receive ribbons for swimming accomplishments - and asked her mother if she could practice judo, too.

Chun lies back on her bed while doing some last munite studying for her last final exam of the semester. Chun is on a scholarship through the wrestling program to study mass communications.

Although her mother said no, that didn't stop the strong-willed youngster.

On Girls Day - a Japanese holiday when families with girls wish their daughters a successful and happy life - Chun skipped swimming practice and went to the dojo where her brother practiced. When her mother later found out that she had skipped swimming for judo, she told her daughter that she had to stick with judo until she earned a black belt.

Chun not only went on to get a black belt; she became a five-time National Judo Champion.

While she still practices the martial art when her busy schedule allows, she said the real role judo played was connecting her to wrestling; her judo sensei wrestled and ended up introducing her to the sport.

"If I wouldn't have done judo, I wouldn't have been wrestling," Chun said. "I like the physical part of it."

Chun thrived through high school by practicing both sports. She went on to win two state wrestling championships and to place third in the nation her senior year. But when it became time to choose a college, Chun faced a tough decision: wrestling or judo.

After discussing her options with her sensei and her family and friends, she chose Missouri Valley because of its scholarship program.

"I just wanted to try something different," Chun said. "I always told myself that if I didn't do well in wrestling..."

She never had to finish that sentence.

Most of the women on the Missouri Valley team love the sport for its intensity and physical nature. Wrestling has taught them life lessons, fostering self-respect and confidence, while nurturing the sense of sisterhood they share with their teammates.

The learning and growing occurs during the long hours the women spend together at meets, practicing, studying and just hanging out. The older women on the team say that as the season progresses the team will mature, teaching today's freshman to be tomorrow's leaders and teachers.

The referee raises Chun's arm declaring her the winner after a 10-0 decision over Neosho County Community College's Kera Pemberton. With the 2004 games more than two years away, Chun has plenty of time to gain the five pounds she needs to qualify for the 106-pound Olympic weight class. "So I get to eat brownies," she jokes.

In her rise to the top, Chun has been fortunate to learn from an older, wiser wrestler. Over the past couple years, Tricia Saunders, who beat out Chun for the top spot on the U.S. national team, has freely shared her knowledge of wrestling and life with Chun.

Saunders, a four-time world gold medalist and 10-time national champion, spent time with Chun at the Olympic training center in Colorado this summer, teaching her how to beat Chinese, Japanese and Russian wrestlers - who provide the stiffest competition for the U.S. wrestlers.

Being the best might preclude some champions from sharing tips with their stiffest competition. Saunders has a reason for being so supportive, even though Chun came closer to beating her than any U.S. opponent.

She has told Chun that she might not compete in the 2004 games. The 35-year-old wrestler has admitted that her body is not responding like it used to, and she is considering retiring before the Olympic games.

While Chun is a little bummed to lose a mentor, she appreciates Saunders' willingness to teach and wants to help other young women in the same way.

"I think she has realized how much she has done for the sport," Chun said. "But I don't want her to retire yet; I want to beat her first."

U.S. Women's College Wrestling Preview - Missouri Valley College aims to continue national dominance


Gary Abbott/USA Wrestling

Women's wrestling in college is an evolving sport in the United States, with new opportunities each year as more young women graduate from high school seeking a chance to wrestle in college.

Currently, there are five women's college wrestling varsity programs, and a number of club teams of various sizes. In addition, a number of talented women wrestlers are members of their men's college teams, training daily and participating in the major women's wrestling events.

For the first time this year, TheMat.com will rank teams and individuals in U.S. women's college wrestling. The teams that will be ranked are either varsities or established club programs. All women wrestlers who are on a college varsity, college club or are members of their college men's teams are eligible for the individual rankings. The NCAA and NAIA eligibility rules will be considered, with undergraduates considered as well as those with undergrad eligibility who are in graduate school.

The top team in the preseason rankings is Missouri Valley College, which has quickly set the standard for women's wrestling on the college level. This NAIA school has had the most success recruiting talented prep athletes and maintaining a large squad size. The Vikings won the team titles at the University Nationals and the U.S. Nationals last year, and have successful athletes at every international weight class. This year, men's head coach Mike Machholz will also lead the women's team, and has high goals for this year's crop.

Among the star individuals are top-ranked Clarissa Chun at 101.25 pounds and Nina Vernon at 165.25 pounds. Other top stars are Malissa Sherwood and Carrie Birge at 123.25 pounds, Tonya Evinger and Tori Adams at 136.5 pounds and Melanie Macari-Montierth at either 149.75 or 165.25 pounds. The Vikings are strong in either dual meets or tournaments, and have made a major impact on the U.S. women's wrestling program.



- USA National Team


Clarissa Chun (Roosevelt '99) went 3-3 in the first Women's World Cup, which ended Saturday at Leudlois, France.

Wrestling in the 46 kg (101.25 pounds) division, Chun pinned wrestlers from Russia, Canada and Tunisia. She lost to competitors from China, Japan (a pin) and France.

The previous week at the Sunkist Kids/ASU International Open in Phoenix, she took first place. Chun, the defending collegiate champion and 2001 Pan American Games silver medalist, is a junior at Missouri Valley College but has been training recently at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.


Women's World Cup

Japan Wins First Annual Women's World Cup in Levallois, France; United States Places Fourth


Heather Van Peursem/USA Wrestling

Japan Wins First Annual Women's World Cup in Levallois, France, Nov. 3; United States Places Fourth

Three members of the U.S. team finished with 3-3 records. 2000 World Silver medalist Patricia Miranda (Stanford, Calif./Dave Schultz WC) at 112.25 pounds as well as 2001 National Team members Clarissa Chun (Kapolei, Hawaii /Missouri Valley College) at 101.25 pounds and Carrie Birge (Marshall, Mo./Missouri Valley College) at 123.25 pounds.

Chun won a silver medal at the 2001 Pan American Championships and is ranked second in her weight class. Birge finished third in the 2001 Missouri Valley International Open and is ranked second in the U.S. at 123.25 pounds.



Levallois, France

Entered by Heather Van Peursem

Team Scoring

Complete results will be entered when they are received.


Results By Weight

Russia 15, U.S. 5

Clarissa Chun (USA) pin Lidia Karamteakova (Russia), 2:23

U.S. 16, Canada 15

Clarissa Chun (USA) won by fall

China 18, U.S. 6

Clarissa Chun (USA) lost dec. 9-5


Twenty-two champions crowned at the 2001 Sunkist Open


Meredith Witulski/USA Wrestling

Competition at the 17th annual Sunkist Kids/ASU Open wrapped up this afternoon with 22 champions crowned.

U.S Women wrestlers captured four of six Sunkist titles this year.

At 46 kg. , Clarissa Chun (USA) took top prize with a 4-0 decision over Katrina Betts (USA).



National rankings

Clarissa Chun (Roosevelt '99), a junior at Missouri Valley College, is No. 1 at 101.25 pounds (46 kg) in the preseason list of TheMat.com U.S. Women's Wrestling College Rankings.

Chun is ranked No. 2 on the USA Wrestling Women's National Team.

Posted on: Wednesday, July 12, 2000


Isle wrestler seeks spot on U.S. wrestling team



By Stacy Kaneshiro

Advertiser Staff Writer


After just three seasons of wrestling, Clarissa Chun of Kapolei has made great strides.

The 1999 Roosevelt High graduate and two-time state champion hopes to take her biggest one Sunday when she faces 10-time national champion Tricia Saunders for a spot on the United States women's world team.

The wrestle-off in the 46-kilogram (101.25-pound) class is a best-of-three event that will be held in Las Vegas.

The last time the two competed was in April for the finals of the 2000 U.S. Nationals. Saunders, of Phoenix, Ariz., pinned Chun in the first period. Saunders, who won world titles in 1992, 1996, 1998 and 1999, has not lost to a U.S. opponent on the senior level.

"Hopefully, I'll do better from the last time I wrestled her," Chun said from Tennessee, where she is visiting Missouri Valley College teammate. "I didn't do very well, but I learned from it."

The U.S. national team will compete in the 2000 Women's World Championship in Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept. 1-3.

Chun qualified for the wrestle-off by beating Julie Gonzales, of Vallejo, Calif., on June 4 at the World Team Trials in Battle Creek, Mich.

Saunders, as the 2000 U.S. Nationals freestyle champion, was supposed to compete in the trials but an injury forced her to postpone her meet until now. As U.S. national champion, she is allowed a request for an extension, according to USA Wrestling.


Wrestling was not Chun's first sport in high school. She swam as a freshman and sophomore before taking up wrestling at the urging of one of her judo instructors, Kevin Ida, a 1971 state wrestling champion for Kaimuki.

Chun, who turns 19 next month, thought her wrestling career was over after high school. She was deciding among Iowa, San Jose State and Hawai'i until a scholarship packet from Missouri Valley College, an NAIA Division II school, arrived. She did not decide on taking the offer until about three days before she enrolled there.

Since then, she has placed third at the 2000 University Nationals and won a gold medal at the 2000 Dave Schulz Memorial International Championships. She just returned from France for the Junior Worlds, where "I didn't to too well," she admitted.

Still, she can't believe how well she has done with so little experience.

"I didn't think I'd be up here," Chun said. "My (college) coach said, 'We're the Mia Hamms of wrestling.' It's hard to believe. This is my first year of freestyle. A lot of these girls have been wrestling for seven or eight years. Coming from Hawaii, we never heard of women's wrestling."


NOTES: Regardless of the outcome of Sunday's wrestle-off, Chun will train will the U.S. team, she said. She will return home Monday, then head to Northwestern University Aug. 15 for the workouts, she said. . . . Missouri Valley College is one of three collegiate programs with women's wrestling, according to USA Wrestling. The other two are Cumberland (Ky.) College and Minnesota-Morris.

First Annual Women's World Cup to be held in Levallois, France, Nov. 2-4


Heather Van Peursem/USA Wrestling

The first annual women's World Cup will be held in Levallois, France, Nov. 2-4, just outside of Paris. The tournament will be held in conjunction with the Greco-Roman World Cup at the Marcel Cerdan Sports Center.

Countries competing in the Women's World Cup are the United States, Canada, China, Japan, Russia, France and Tunisia. These are among the best women's wrestling teams in the world, and will include numerous World medalists. Weigh-ins will be held on Friday, Nov. 2 and the competition will be Saturday, Nov. 3 and Sunday, Nov. 4.

Heading the line-up for the U.S. is 2000 World Silver Medalist Patricia Miranda (Stanford, Calif./Dave Schultz WC) at 112.25 pounds. Five-time World Team member Lauren Lamb (Troy, N.Y./Michigan WC) will compete at 136.5 pounds. Lamb placed fifth in the 1995, 1997 and 1999 World Championships. The 1999 U.S.

Women's team won the team World Championship.

Other National Team members competing for the United States include Clarissa Chun (Kapolei, Hawaii/Missouri Valley College) at 101.25 pounds, Katie Downing (Pendleton, Ind./UM-Morris) at 149.75 pounds and Melanie Macari (Fremont, Calif./Missouri Valley College) at 165.25 pounds.

Chun won a silver medal at the 2001 Pan American Championships and is ranked second in her weight class. Downing is a 1999 Junior World Silver Medalist and is on the U.S. National Team for her third year.

U.S. Women's National Championships


Las Vegas, Nev.

Entered by Gary Abbott



Results By Weight

101.25 pounds


3rd - Clarissa Chun, Kapolei, Hawaii (Missouri Valley College) won by tech. fall over Erica Dye, Elizabeth, W.Va. (unattached), 12-2, 3:29

Missouri Valley College

Sports Information Department

April 3, 2001


Chun's title leads Lady Vikings at University Nationals


EVANSTON, Ill. - The competition at the Women's University National Wrestling Championships last Wednesday through Saturday in Evanston, Ill., fell under the weight of the Missouri Valley College program.


Typically, the Lady Vikings had the largest contingent in the field. That wouldn't have been enough, however, without some wins. That they accomplished, putting together enough victories in pool play to place 20 wrestlers into the 36 trophy-round slots - including five finalists encompassing four of the six weight classes.


However, only one Valley entry walked away with a gold medal: sophomore Clarissa Chun of Kapolei, Hawaii, the defending U.S. Collegiate Nationals champion who went undefeated in the 46-kilogram class - including an 11-0 technical fall over teammate Sandra Padron in the finals.

Press Release:  February 5 , 2001


With a third-place finish, sophomore Clarissa Chun 

(right) was one of two Valley medalists at the 

University of Manitoba meet.Chris Allen/Democrat-News


 MVC women pick up two medals


WINNEPEG, Manitoba - Two Missouri Valley College women's wrestlers took home medals last weekend from the University of Manitoba's Bison Invitational in Winnepeg.


Junior Satrinina Vernon of Rodeo, Calif., took home the gold medal at 75 Kilograms after defeating all four opponents in her pool. The Lady Vikings also got a bronze when sophomore Clarissa Chun scored a 12-0 technical fall over freshman teammate Audrey Carrasco - competing in her native Canada - in the third-place match at 46 Kg.