Sarah Robles didn’t win a medal at the London Olympics.
But she still is a winner.
The weightlifter, who is considered the strongest woman in the United States, came in seventh place Sunday in the 75 plus kilo category.
But her struggle to get to the Olympics both financial and personal got her attention and support with online campaigns from fans and supporters.
She lived on $400 from U.S.A. Weightlifting and sometimes didn’t even have money for gas to drive to training. Her paternal great grandparents were from Mexico and she also is Mormon.
Robles, 24, said that as a plus-size woman she wasn’t as attractive to sponsors. At 275 pounds she is able to lift more than twice her weight.
“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,” Robles is quoted on ThinkProgress, which started an online petition to seek sponsorship for the athlete.
An Internet company, Solve Media, offered her sponsorship.
“It pained me to see someone at the top of her game working for what amounts to a few hundred dollars a month,” the CEO of Solve Media, Ari Jacoby, told ThinkProgress. “She’s the very best of the best, poised to end a 12-year medal drought in her sport. And she’s living this way because it’s her ultimate dream to represent her country and achieve greatness in the sport that she loves.”
Robles fans rallied around her and hopefully she will gain additional sponsors. She has vowed to compete again in the Rio Olympics in 2016.