In a superheavyweight class missing the world record holder in both lifts and the total — Russia’s Tatiana Kashirina — the competition for medals seemed wide open. China’s Meng Suping was the favorite heading into Rio and won the gold medal, but by a much smaller margin than many expected; her total was a single kilo above North Korea’s Kim Kuk-yang. The competition also marked the first Olympic weightlifting medal for the United States in 16 years; Sarah Robles made all six of her lifts on the day to secure a bronze medal.

The last Olympic weightlifting medal for the USA came at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when superheavyweight lifter and American Record Holder Cheryl Haworth secured a bronze medal in the final session of the inaugural women’s competition. American Tara Nott won gold in the women’s 48kg category that same Olympic Games.

The final 75+ women’s podium is as follows:

1. Meng Suping (China)
2. Kim Kuk-yang (North Korea)
3. Sarah Robles (USA)

Suping had a surprising miss to open the snatch portion but came back to make her next two attempts; prior to the start of the competition, we predicted Suping might run away with the competition, potentially winning on her first two lifts in each phase.

Kuk-yang led following the snatch portion, finishing with 131kg. She then made all three clean & jerks, joining Robles as the only two lifters in the session to go 6 for 6 on the day.

Robles finished with a 286kg total on the day. Her lifts were 118-122-126 in the snatch, 151-155-160 in the clean & jerk. It was a consistent performance for the lifter, who trains out of Texas under the tutelage of coach Tim Swords. Her snatches looked relatively easy, and some were caught above parallel.

Shaimaa Haridy (Egypt) finished in 4th place after making one snatch and two clean & jerks. She finished 8kg behind Robles in the total.

A photo posted by Sarah Robles (@roblympian) on

Featured image courtesy Sarah Robles.

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