Sarah Robles: Mormon Athlete
Sarah Robles is an Olympic medalist, having won the bronze medal in weightlifting at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics. She broke a sixteen-year drought for the USA team by winning the medal. Robles went six for six in her lifts. She lifted a personal-record 126 kilograms in the snatch. In the clean and jerk, she lifted 160 kilograms.
Robles finished seventh in the London 2012 Olympic Games. She was suspended for two years for testing positive for the banned substance DHEA, but maintains her doctor recommended DHEA for the treatment of her polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- 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.
Her appeal of the suspension for medical reasons was denied.
In addition to PCOS, Robles also suffers from Madelung’s deformity, a congenital defect of a bone in her forearm which causes pain each time she lifts. She treats the pain with wrist wraps and warming creams.
Robles was born on August 1, 1988, and grew up in Desert Hot Springs, California. She started weightlifting in 2008 as a way to help her train for track and field at San Jacinto High School. She threw shot put and discus in high school and earned a scholarship to Arizona State University where she added hammer throw. (She was at the University of Alabama for a brief time.) Within three months of weightlifting, she qualified for nationals and ceased competing in track and field. She is a three-time national champion and won the silver medal at the 2010 Pan American competition. At the 2011 World Championships, she finished in eleventh place in her weight class but first place among American women weightlifters. She qualified as one of two American women to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics, just four years after beginning weightlifting.
Because of some of the difficulties she encountered as a child, Robles started a blog, Pretty Strong, with her best friend to encourage girls to recognize their strengths and to help dispel the myth that there is only one “right” body type.
Robles is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was baptized in 2006.