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Bianca Belair: The E-S-T of East Tennessee

She's a champion in WWE and breaking barriers in female wrestling. Bianca Belair has worked hard for what she has, and it all started here in Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Bianca Belair's parent's living room resembles a museum. Posters, pictures and memorabilia of their daughter adorn the walls and shelves.

Today, she is a world-famous WWE superstar, but even as a child, Bianca Belair always tried to reach new heights.

"She always wants to do something that's dangerous. She wants to make me have a heart attack one day like hurdles and being up in a 50-foot tree," said Leonard Blair, Bianca's father. 

Growing up, Bianca loved sports. In high school, she played basketball, ran track and was even a cheerleader. 

"She played basketball for the girls. She's out there, playing defense. She goes in the locker woman changes and puts on the cheerleading outfit. She cheered for the boys," said Travonda Blair, Bianca's mother.

Despite participating in three extracurricular activities at Austin East Magnet High School, track and field is where Bianca really excelled.

She went on to become part of the All-SEC team and an All-American at the University of Tennessee. 

After her college track career was over, Bianca decided not to pursue a professional career in the sport. Her brother then encouraged her to get into CrossFit. In true Bianca fashion, she put her own spin on the sport by creating unique outfits that she would wear during competitions. 

"She said 'I can be pretty, and lift weights and have muscles," Travonda said.

During one of her CrossFit competitions, she was noticed by WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry, who got her a tryout with the sports entertainment company.

"She's always been competitive. She's always had that star quality. When she was little, she told me, 'I want to grow up, and I want to be on stage," Travonda said.

Bianca may have never graced that stage had it not been for her family and her dad's sound advice.

"Don't be scared. It's okay to be nervous. Nervous keeps you focused. Scared takes you off your game," Leonard said.

She is certainly on her game. Bianca Belair is the RAW Women's Champion, was the Smackdown Women's Champion, won the Royal Rumble and has been recognized as female wrestler of the year by numerous publications.

She will likely bring in more awards and more accomplishments, which means her parents might need a new shelf.


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