Photo: Clarissa Chun celebrates her bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. Photo by Getty Images.
Welcome to a new weekly series on TheMat.com called USA Wrestling History Lesson. Each week, we will highlight one athlete that has wrapped up his or her wrestling career, sharing the impact that they’ve had on the sport.
This week, we take a look at Clarissa Chun, a World champion and Olympic bronze medalist.
Chun, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, was a two-time state champion, In fact, she won the first girls Hawaii state title in the first year the state officially sanctioned high school girls wrestling. After high school, Chun went on to compete at Missouri Valley, one of the first women’s wrestling college programs.
Her Senior-level career began in 2000, when she made both the Junior and Senior World Teams. She was 8th at the Junior Worlds and 13th at the Senior Worlds.
Chun didn’t make her second World Team until 2008, which was a breakout year for the 48 kg wrestler. In addition to making the World Team, Chun also landed a spot on the 2008 Olympic Team and represented the U.S. at the Beijing Games.
In her Olympic debut, she advanced to a medal match, but fell short, finishing fifth at her weight class. Two months later, Chun claimed a gold medal at the World Championships in Tokyo, Japan.
Similarly in 2012, Chun made both the Olympic and World Teams. This time, Chun picked up a bronze medal at the London Games, becoming only the fourth U.S. woman to win an Olympic medal in wrestling.
Chun finished her career in 2016 as a two-time Olympian and five-time World Team member (‘00, ‘08, ‘09, ‘11, ‘12), with a World title and Olympic medal to her name. Additionally, Chun owns four Pan American Championship gold medals as well as a silver from the 2011 Pan Am Games.
In 2017, Chun was named the USA Wrestling National Women’s Freestyle Assistant Coach. She currently serves alongside Head Coach Terry Steiner and Assistant Coach Jessica Medina.
Since joining the USA Wrestling coaching staff, Chun has helped coach eight women to 10 medals at the Senior World Championships, including gold medalists Adeline Gray, Tamyra Mensah-Stock, Jacarra Winchester and Helen Maroulis.