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Olympic Weightlifter Finally Wins — with Fashion

07/24/2012 at 09:00 AM ET

Sarah Robles
Courtesy Michelle Alexandra

Olympic weightlifter Sarah Robles may be one of the strongest women on the planet — able to lift more than 550 lbs. — but what she’d really like to do is find something to wear besides sweat pants and a baggy T-shirt.

“I never really get the opportunity to dress nicely,” says Robles, who left for London last week. “I’m in gym clothes 90 percent of the time.”

The 5-ft., 10-in., 275-lbs. Robles often speaks about how disappointing it can be to try and find clothes to fit her body type and sense of style. “I try not to settle,” she says. “I mostly just won’t wear it. When I do, I’m not comfortable and I want to get out of it as soon as possible.”

Sarah Robles
Courtesy Michelle Alexandra

Last month, Santa Cruz, Calif.-based fashion designer Jill Alexander, who specializes in clothing for curvy women, heard about Robles’ plight. The two women recently met up and Alexander gave the Olympic-bound athlete a collection of dresses, skirts and tops to take with her to London for interviews and press events.

“She’s the perfect role model,” says Alexander. “She’s one of the top athletes in the world. She’s not unhealthy, she’s not lazy, but she has trouble finding clothes that fit well. She’s empowering women to speak out and say, ‘I deserve better from the fashion industry.'”

Robles reports that she’s happy to finally have a few outfits that are both comfortable to wear and make her feel like a woman. “I packed one of her yellow wrap [dresses] with fun dots and squares on it, along with a taupe lacey top,” says Robles. “They make me feel gorgeous, confident and flirty.”

–Johnny Dodd

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Showing 39 comments

Susan Weitz on

She looks gorgeous. Between Solve Media and Jill Alexander, Sarah is poised to really win big in London. Go Sarah!

Stephica on

She looks great! Good luck in London Sarah!

sharron on

Wow!! Sarah you look AWESOME!!!!

bohemianhomemaker on

She looks so gorgeous, and very, very happy. Wonderful story.

Helina on

I knew this girl in school she is amazing and so lucky to be living her dreams

Annastaysha W. on

Wow Sarah, you look fantastic! Thank you Jill for making my friend from girlscouts, track & field, & high school proud to be a strong woman =D

Vicki on

The dresses look awesome on you! Good luck in London!

Vicki on

Love the dresses! They look awesome on you!
Good luck in London! GO USA!!!

Jen on

We are so proud to have you represent our country. Your strength and beauty will shine through.

Kelly on

Smokin’! You look great Sarah! Good luck in London!

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