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Boxer Marlen Esparza is the first American female to qualify in her sport at the Olympics. At the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, she won a bronze medal.
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The hard work paid off. At the 2012 Women's World Championships in China, Esparza made history when she defeated Vietnam's Luu Thi Duyen in the second round to clinch an Olympic position, the first American female boxer ever to do so (women's boxing became an Olympic sport in 2012).
"It's a big step, not really just for boxing, but for women in general," Esparza said, just before the start of the Games. "I'm so happy that the pressure is on me, versus someone else, and it's just an honor,
first of all, to represent your country. It's an even bigger honor to be the first and that position and also being female."
At the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, held in London, Esparza won a bronze medal, losing in the semifinal bout against Chinese boxer Ren Cancan.
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