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Olympic Gold Medal Hopeful Clarissa Chun Credits MMA for Recent Upset

clarissachunmug06.jpg 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 regimine helps gtet 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.

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