Clarissa Chun battles Victoria Anthony at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2008 World champion Clarissa Chun has been named Assistant National Women's Coach for USA Wrestling, the national governing body for wrestling in the United States.
She joins USA Wrestling's National Team Department, working on National Women's Coaching staff, led by National Women's Coach Terry Steiner and will be based in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the U.S. Olympic Training Center and USA Wrestling national headquarters are based.
"I am excited to work with all of the athletes who come through the Olympic Training Center with our Women's Team, on the Cadet, Junior and Senior levels, to share my knowledge and work with the athletes. I look forward to continuing to learn and to grow as a coach, working with Coach Steiner and coaches from the USA and around the world," Chun said
"We are extremely excited to have Clarissa joining the USA Wrestling Women's Program as a coach. Clarissa has always carried herself with dignity and class. She has proven herself as an athlete and now she has the opportunity to share her knowledge as a coach and give back to the next generation of superstars. There is no doubt in my mind that Clarissa will develop into one of the great coaches of the sport of women's wrestling. She has the right skill set and personality to go with it. For me, as the Women's National Team Coach, it is important that we have coaches that our athletes look up to and respect. It is important that to me that the our staff is made up of great people who complement one another," said Steiner.
One of the greatest women athletes in USA Wrestling history, Chun claimed the bronze medal at 48 kg/105.5 pounds at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. A two-time Olympian, Chun also placed fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
Chun won her World gold medal at the 2008 World Championships, held in Tokyo, Japan. During her career, Chun competed on five U.S. Senior World Teams, with her first at the 2000 World Championships, as well as World Team berths in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
During her career, Chun won five U.S. Open titles. She was a 2011 Pan American Games silver medalist and won four gold medals at the Pan American Championships. She was a runner-up at four U.S. World Team Trials and three U.S. Opens, in a career which spanned 18 years competing at the Senior level.
"Over the last Olympic quad, going for the 2016 Olympics, I considered what my future looks like and if I would enjoy coaching. I have done a bunch of camps and clinics throughout the years and I've found a passion for it. I enjoy being able to connect with the athletes and share my experiences. It made sense to me to take on the opportunity to coach and challenge myself," said Chun.
Chun competed for Missouri Valley College, where she was a star on one of the pioneer women's college wrestling team programs. She made the Senior Women's National Team while still a student at Missouri Valley.
After leaving college, Chun became a U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete for many years, but has also trained at Regional Training Centers on college campuses.
Chun has coaching experience at both the international and college levels. She was a member of the men's wrestling staff at West Virginia University, serving as the program's Operations Assistant while also training at the Regional Training Center there. She also was an athlete at the Regional Training Center at the University of Missouri. Chun has also coached with a number of U.S. international women's tour teams.
"I learned a lot from Coach (Sammie) Henson. It was such a great opportunity for me to train under him. I have learned a lot in the college programs. I saw the background coaching, the administrative duties. Sometimes, people think coaching is just on the mat, helping with relationships with athletes. There is a lot behind the scenes that people don't realize go into success, how to put things together for us to execute our plan. I was excited to be a part of those programs and super grateful that I've had those opportunities to help me grow as an athlete, a coach and a person," said Chun.
A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Chun won two Hawaii state high school girls wrestling titles. She made history there by winning the first Hawaii state title on the first year that the state held an officially sanctioned for girls. She also competed in judo, a sport which she was successful before focusing full-time on her wrestling career. She also qualified at the state level in both swimming and bowling.
Chun graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
She is looking forward to work with our nation's girls and women wrestlers, using her experience and skills to help them reach their goals and advance the program's performance.
"The most obvious area is technical, but there is so much more to making jumps and gains, and to close those gaps when it comes to those tougher matches. Whether it is nutrition or sports psychology, it is about figuring it out. Each athlete is different. It takes a lot more than just on-the-mat teaching," she said.
Steiner is very pleased with the quality people that have come together to help lead Women's Team USA to new levels of international success.
"It has been a great week for USA Wrestling' Women's Wrestling. I feel we have made some great additions this past week with Coach Erin Vandiver taking over our New Elite Development Program at Wyoming Seminary. In this program we will target our best Cadet-age athletes to try and jump start their Freestyle Career, much the same way as USA Wrestling's Men's Freestyle Program did with Kyle Snyder and Henry Cejudo. Then, we have been able to add Clarissa Chun to our staff as an Assistant National Team Coach. I feel our team of coaches that include Clarissa Chun, Erin Vandiver, Emma Randall, and our volunteer Coaches Pool will create the right environment around the program to give our athletes the best chance for success," said Steiner.