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Olympic wrestler Clarissa Chun shares her journey from Roosevelt High to NCAA coach

women's head wrestling coach Clarissa Chun
Charlie Neibergall/AP
Iowa women's head wrestling coach Clarissa Chun is introduced during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Illinois, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Many legendary athletes have come from Hawaiʻi. Names like Duke Kahanamoku, Akebono Tarō and Michelle Wie come to mind. Now add to that list Roosevelt High School alum Clarissa Chun.

Chun was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame this week. Among her accomplishments, she was one of Hawaiʻi's first girls wrestling state champions in 1998 and she won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

Last November, she was named head coach of the University of Iowa’s women's wrestling team, the first for a school in an NCAA Power Five conference. The Conversation caught up with Chun earlier this week as she was driving to her home in Iowa City.

London Olympics Wrestling Women Clarissa Kyoko Mei Ling Chun
Paul Sancya/AP
Clarissa Chun of the United States celebrates after her win against Irini Merleni of Ukraine in their 48-kg women's freestyle wrestling bronze medal match at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Chun led a wrestling clinic on Kauaʻi on Friday, June 10 at Waimea High School. This interview aired on The Conversation on June 9, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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