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Desert Hot Springs’ Sarah Robles earns bronze, becomes first U.S. woman to win two Olympic medals in weightlifting

Dick Thomas Johnson / CC BY 2.0

DESERT HOT SPRINGS (CNS) - Sarah Robles, who was raised in Desert Hot Springs, became the first American woman to win two Olympic medals in weightlifting, winning the bronze in the super heavyweight class.

Sarah Robles

Robles began the competition in the over-87 kilograms class at the Tokyo International Forum by successfully making all three of her lifts in the clean and jerk. Her final lift of 128 kilograms tied the American record set in 2003 by Olympic medalist Cheryl Haworth.
   

Robles lifted 154 kilograms on her second attempt in the clean and jerk to give her at total of 282 kilograms. She was unsuccessful in her final attempt at 157 kilograms.

Li Wenwen of China won the gold medal with an Olympic-record total of 320 kilograms. Emily Campbell of Great Britain won the silver medal with a total of 283 kilograms, one more than Robles.
   

Robles' medal came one day after her 33rd birthday. She is the oldest U.S. women's weightlifter to medal at the Olympic Games and the second-oldest U.S. woman to compete in weightlifting at the Olympic Games.

Her bronze medal and Katherine Nye's silver medal in the women's 76-kilogram class Sunday gave the U.S. two medals in weightlifting for the first time since 2000.
   

Robles won the bronze medal in the super heavyweight class in the 2016 Rio Games, the first American woman to win a medal in weightlifting since 2000. The super heavyweight class then began at 75 kilograms. The International
Weightlifting Federation changed the bodyweight categories in 2018.
   

Weightlifting competitions consist of two portions, the snatch and the clean and jerk, with each athlete given three attempts in both. In the snatch, the bar is lifted from the floor to overhead in one motion. In the clean and jerk, the barbell is lifted overhead in two continuous motions -- the clean, which brings the bar to the shoulders, and the jerk, in which the athlete raises the bar overhead. The best total in each successful lift is combined for the overall total.
   

Robles earned her third Olympic berth by scoring enough points in qualifying events from 2018-2020. She finished seventh in the super heavyweight class in the 2012 London Games.

Robles has overcome several health issues to win three gold medals at the 2017 IWF World Weightlifting Championships and compete in three Olympics.
   

She competes despite having a condition called Madelung's deformity in both her arms, which results in the radius bones being shorter than normal and bowed -- causing her pain when she lifts or does everyday motions. Robles
uses wrist straps and warming creams to alleviate pain during her lifts. She was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome in 2007, which has affected her weight and caused other health problems.

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Blake Arthur

Sports Director Blake Arthur joined the KESQ/CBS Local 2 team in August of 2015. Learn more about Blake here.

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