As part of a media campaign for Cover Girl cosmetics, Mary Spencer became an instant role model for Canadian women. A multiple world champion, she almost failed to qualify in the women’s boxing event at the 2012 London Summer Games. Had she not been able to qualify for the Games, it would not have tarnished her image with Cover Girl. Her willingness to participate meant that the Cover Girl campaign was an unequalled success.
The 5’11’’, 27 year old from Wiarton, Ontario is the first athlete to gain an endorsement in Canada with Cover Girl. With five Pan-Am titles (including a role as the flag bearer at the 2011 Pan Am closing ceremonies) and eight Canadian championships, Spencer is aiming to be the first athlete (and Canadian) to claim gold in women’s boxing (a debut sport at the London Games). In addition, she is also a volunteer and member of the Cape Croker Indian Reserve in Ontario.
In spring 2012, Spencer suffered a loss at the American Boxing Confederation’s continental championship. Against 17 year old American Claressa Shields of Flint, Michigan, Spencer (the world champion in 2005, 2008 and 2010) suffered a shocking loss. Another surprising loss followed in her first bout at the women’s world championships in Qinhuangdao, China to Anna Laurell of Sweden. Ironically, Claressa Shields would lose her match in China to British pugilist Savannah Marshall. With the loss, many fans were concerned that her Summer Games dream would not reach fruition. Certainly it seemed as if Canada would not be sending a female boxer to the inaugural Summer Games tournament in London.
While she did qualify for the 2012 London Summer Games by receiving the Boxing Canada Wild Card berth, she took on an even bigger role in the past few months, the one of a role model. She has proven that despite the adversity she underwent with her losses, one must always have faith. Her opportunity to represent Canada at the Games is an opportunity of hope: hope to redeem herself for those losses while providing hope for Canadian sports fans that she can claim a medal.
For young Canadian female athletes that suffer with body image, Spencer has shown that women can assume the role of athletes and still be beautiful. Muscle definition or a larger body size does not define or hold back what a woman is capable of. Spencer’s determination proved that beauty (and the confidence that emanates from it) is just as prevalent on the inside.