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Sarah Robles is one of the most dominant female weightlifters in the history of the sport. In 2016, the San Diego native earned a bronze medal in the Rio Olympic Games, making her the first U.S. athlete to win a medal in weightlifting in 16 years.

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The performance made her a bonafide star and a role model for young women around the country.

“I enjoy getting messages and e-mails from girls and women telling me that what I’m doing or what I’ve said has helped give them confidence,” Robles said. “And it motivates them to do something or be a little better.”

Robles is naturally athletic. She started out as a shot putter in high school, earning scholarships to the University of Alabama and Arizona State University. As part of her shot put training at a local Arizona gym under coach Joe Micela, she began doing Olympic-style lifts in 2008.

Robles was set to become the first American woman weightlifter in history to compete in three different Olympic Games, but she’ll have to wait for a year as the games in Tokyo were postponed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Women’s weightlifting came from a place that didn’t have much hope,” said Robles, who attended the University of Alabama. “Now, women’s weightlifting is in a spot where it’s never been before, and as an Olympic medal winner, I’m really happy to be part of that,” she added.

Robles is very comfortable being a role model for young women and realizes that hoisting a lot of weight is not her only job as a lifter representing the United States.

“I know we have to be selfless when going after championships and medals,” Robles said. “But at some point, we have to do it for other women, it’s a ripple effect. We’re helping the next generation of girls become better people and to become better athletes and help grow the sport.”

Robles is a champion in her sport and outside the arena, helping others achieve their goals and dreams just like she has. Her impact on the sport can’t be understated.

Photo Credit: Twitter