Meet Team USA Olympic Weightlifter Sarah Robles (+87KG)

The weightlifting veteran is entering her third Olympic Games as a super heavyweight.

Sarah Robles probably doesn’t need an introduction. The 33-year-old, who hails from San Jacinto, CA, is the most experienced member of Team USA’s weightlifting squad. The 2020 Games is Robles’ third Olympics, and she’s also a Pan American Games champion and a World Weightlifting Championship gold medalist. 

The Women’s +87 kilogram sessions occur on August 1, 2021, at 10:50 p.m. EST (Group B) and August 2, 2021, at 6:50 a.m. EST (Group A).

Weightlifting Career

Robles is a force in American weightlifting. She lives in League City, TX, and trains at Team Houston under coach Tim Swords. In high school, Robles was a shotputter who, after earning a college scholarship and taking her talents for tossing to the collegiate level, quickly realized her proclivity for handling a barbell. Now, she’s the number two ranked women’s +87 kilogram in the world, according to the IWF rankings.

Sarah Robles

Robles won silver in the 2010 Pan American Championships and then competed in her first of seven Weightlifting World Championships in 2011. She’s also competed at the WWC in 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Her best performance was at the 2017 WWC, where she took three gold medals and was crowned the overall champion in her weight class (+90 kilograms at the time).

As for her Olympic Games resume, Robles competed at the 2012 London Olympic Games and finished sixth overall (Zhou Lulu of China won that year), and in 2016 where she finished third. In 2012 and 2016, Robles competed at +75 kilograms (the IWF restructured the bodyweight categories in 2018).

Robles is also a four-time Pan American Champion from 2017-2020 and currently holds two American Records and two Pan American Records. 

Robles’ Records

Competition In Tokyo

Here are all the athletes competing in the +87-kilogram class at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games:

+87 Kilogram Roster

  • Charisma Amoe Tarrant — Australia
  • Sarah Fischer — Austria
  • Anna Marie Vanbellinghen — Belgium
  • Li Wenwen — China
  • Eyurkenia Duverger Pileta — Cuba
  • Veronica Estela Saladin Tolentino — Domincan Republic
  • Emily Jade Campbell — Great Britain
  • Scarleth Vanessa Ucelo Marroquin — Guatemala
  • Nurul Akmal — Indonesia
  • Seon Mi Lee — South Korea
  • Bilegsaikhan Erdenebat — Mongolia
  • Laurel Hubbard — New Zealand
  • Kuinini Juanita Mechteld Manumua — Tonga
  • Sarah Elizabeth Robles — USA

Robles is the only returning Olympian on the roster. Wenwen, one of China’s eight team members, is 21 years old and making her Olympic debut as the clear leader of the pack in terms of raw strength.

However, Robles’ status as a tenured competitor both at international events and prior Olympic Games affords her an advantage that neither Wenwen nor the other competitors will have.

+87-Kilogram IWF Rankings

  • Li Wenwen — IWF Ranked #1
  • Sarah Robles — IWF Ranked #2
  • Emily Jade Campbell — IWF Ranked #4
  • Seon Mi Lee — IWF Ranked #8 (tied for eighth Aisamal Sansyzbayeva)
  • Nurul Akmal— IWF Ranked #11 
  • Veronica Estela Saladin Tolentino — IWF Ranked #13
  • Eyurkenia Duverger Pileta — IWF Ranked #15
  • Anna Marie Vanbellinghen — IWF Ranked #20
  • Scarleth Vanessa Ucelo Marroquin — IWF Ranked #25

Robles and Wenwen are neck and neck in the IWF rankings. That said, Sarah Robles’ heaviest ever clean & jerk of 162 kilograms (357 pounds) is 25 kilograms, or 55 pounds, lighter than Wenwen’s current world record (see below). Robles has a fair shot of medaling, especially if she’s on her game, but has some ground to make up against China’s super heavyweight. 

+87-Kilogram World Records

  • Snatch — Li Wenwen, 148 kilograms (326 pounds)
  • Clean & Jerk — Li Wenwen, 187 kilograms (412.3 pounds)
  • Total — Li Wenwen, 335 kilograms (738.5 pounds)

Onto the Olympic Games

The Women’s +87-kilogram weight class will compete squarely in the middle of the 2020 Games. Group B is scheduled for Sunday, August 1, 2021, at 10:50 p.m. EST. Group A’s session begins on Monday, August 2, 2021, at 12:50 a.m. EST.

We will see how well Robles fares against the best in the world. Judging by the lifts scored previously by her competition, she will need to hit the highest total of her professional weightlifting career to reach the podium.

Note: BarBend is the Official Media Partner of USA Weightlifting. Unless otherwise specified on certain content, the two organizations maintain editorial independence. They collaborated on this article series.

Featured Image Courtesy of USA Weightlifting