Sarah Robles

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Sarah Robles
Personal information
Nationality United States
Born (1988-08-01) August 1, 1988 (age 28)
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 140 kg (310 lb)
Country  United States
Sport Weightlifting
Event(s) +75kg
Club Team Houston
Coached by Tim Swords
Achievements and titles
National finals Three time national champion
Updated on 14 August 2016.

Sarah Elizabeth Robles (born August 1, 1988) is an American weightlifter. She qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and earned a bronze medal in weightlifting at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first US athlete to medal in Olympic weightlifting in 16 years. She is a Mormon[1] and is of Mexican ancestry.[2]

Athletic career[edit]

Growing up in Desert Hot Springs, California, Robles competed in throwing events at San Jacinto High School in San Jacinto, CA. She became a top-ranked shot putter, earning scholarships to the University of Alabama and Arizona State University.[3] As part of her shot put training at a local Arizona gym under coach Joe Micela, she began doing Olympic-style lifts in 2008. That same year, after only three months of weightlifting, Robles qualified for nationals and stopped competing in shot put, losing her scholarship in the process.[3] She won the silver medal at a 2010 Pan American competition and is a three time national champion.[4] At the 2011 World Championships, she finished in eleventh place in her weight class but first place among American women weightlifters. Robles qualified as one of two American women to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.[3][5]

Despite being the highest-ranked weightlifter in the United States, Robles lived on less than $400 a month leading up to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.[3] Commentators have suggested that this was the result both of the lack of popular attention to the sport of weightlifting, as well as Robles and other women in the sport having larger body types than those of women athletes traditionally portrayed in mass media. Robles has been quoted as saying that, "You can get that sponsorship if you're a super-built guy or a girl who looks good in a bikini. But not if you're a girl who's built like a guy."[3] As of July 16, 2012, a company called Solve Media was sponsoring her.[6]

Robles has a deformity in her arm known as Madelung's deformity, which results in a radius that is shorter than normal and bowed. The deformity leads to significant pain during lifts, and Robles treats the pain with wrist wraps and warming creams.[7]

Sarah Robles was sanctioned by the International Weightlifting Federation for two years, until August 8, 2015, after WADA found her in-competition test at the Pan Am games positive for DHEA, testosterone and pregnanediol.[8][9]

While not directly addressing the positive tests for testosterone and pregnanediol nor explaining how DHEA can cause positive tests for these, Sarah's official website cites medical reasons for her need to take DHEA. She says, "My doctor and I worked together to try different treatment options for my PCOS, as a preventative measure. Because my progesterone and DHEA levels are naturally quite low because of PCOS, my doctor felt that supplementing with DHEA would help balance things out in my system. We did not feel that bringing my DHEA to a normal level would be contradictory to my stance as a clean athlete." [10] Robles's official web site does not mention any application for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) prior to the positive tests, and although she states that she acted on the advice of her doctor when taking this medication to treat poly-cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), her appeal of the suspension for medical reasons was denied.[11]

2016 Summer Olympics[edit]

On August 14, 2016 Robles won the bronze medal in Weightlifting at the 2016 Summer Olympics – Women's +75 kg with a snatch of 126 kilograms (278 lb) and a clean and jerk of 160 kilograms (350 lb) for a total of 286 kilograms (631 lb).[12] She was the first athlete from the United States to win a medal in Olympic weightlifting since the 2000 Summer Olympics.[12]


  1. ^ Brown, Brandon (25 July 2012). "Mormon athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London". Deseret News. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Rio-bound weightlifter Sarah Robles hopes to inspire Hispanics to try Olympic sports". Fox New Latino. EFE. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Testa, Jessica. "The Strongest Woman in America Lives in Poverty". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Johnson, Sanda. "Meet 2012 Weightlifting Olympian Sarah Robles". Yahoo News. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Sarah Robles". United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Shen, Aviva. "VICTORY: Olympic Weightlifter Sarah Robles Gets A Sponsor". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 18 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Schrager, Peter (24 May 2012). "Nothing's Going to Stop Me". Fox Sports. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Sanctioned athletes". International Weightlifting Federation. Retrieved 19 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "US Weightlifting Athlete, Robles, Receives Sanction For Anti-Doping Rule Violation". U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. 14 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Addressing the consequences of a difficult choice.". Sarah Robles' Official blog. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  11. ^ Steele, Allan (17 December 2013). "OLYMPICS: San Jacinto weightlifter Robles suspended for failed drug test". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Quin, Danny (August 14, 2016). "Weightlifting results: Meng Suping wins gold, USA's Sarah Robles earns bronze". NBC News.