(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO) – Queen Underwood (Seattle, Wash.) received the call she had been dreaming about for over a month on Monday morning, and the voice on the other line delivered the message she’d been hoping for. The 28-year-old lightweight immediately fell into tears upon learning that she would be nominated to compete in the inaugural Olympic Games for women’s boxing in London. Underwood received the call from USA Boxing Executive Director Anthony Bartkowski at approximately 10 a.m. PT and was too emotional to speak after receiving the news.
After regaining her composure, Underwood attempted to put her feelings into words through the tears. “I’m just so happy right now. I’ve been waiting for this second chance and it means a lot to be able to go to the Olympics,” Underwood said. “All I heard was welcome to the Olympic Team and I just couldn’t control my emotions. I am just happy and thrilled that they chose me. This is just awesome.”
As the IOC’s Tripartite Commission did not have a suitable NOC for the lightweight slot, they returned to the berth to AIBA, the international federation for Olympic-style boxing. Per the Olympic Selection Guidelines approved the IOC Executive Board, the berth was to go to the next place finisher at the 2012 Women’s World Championships, which was Underwood. The American boxer lost a one-point decision to Norway’s Ingrid Egner in preliminary round action at the World Championships last month, falling just short of qualifying at that event. She required a first place finish in the Americas at the 2012 World Championships to earn her berth at the 2012 Olympic Games in the lone international qualifying tournament.
“We are thrilled for Queen and believe that she absolutely deserved to be in London,” said USA Boxing Executive Director Anthony Bartkowski. “She has been an outstanding representative for the sport since her first national championship win in 2007 and the team feels complete now that she will be joining Marlen and Claressa in London.”
Underwood’s selection by AIBA means that the United States will be represented in all three women’s weight divisions in the first-ever Olympic Games for Women’s Boxing. Flyweight Marlen Esparza (Houston, Texas) and middleweight Claressa Shields (Flint, Mich.) both qualified for the Olympic Games based upon their finish at the 2012 World Championships. Only 12 boxers in each of the three women’s weight divisions will be competing in London.
All nominations to the 2012 Olympic Team are subject to approval by the USOC Board of Directors.
Additional Underwood Quotes
“I now have the chance to write my own story and my winning the gold medal is now going to be the headline. That’s what I owe to everybody and to myself. I can’t wait to get in the ring, I really can’t. It is going to be way different this time.”
“This past three weeks almost destroyed me mentally. All this pressure, everything since China (where the World Championships were held) has been so hard.”
“This is God’s gift to me, the chance to pursue what I’ve always dreamed about. It’s obviously a dream come true and it wasn’t even in my control. I’ve worked hard to get here. I’m just so happy right now.”