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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

MEET MORE OLYMPIC STARS HERE!

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Showing 39 comments

Kris on

She looks amazing in those dresses! Her smile is a great accessory, too :) Great story!

Renee on

You look beautiful!! GOOD LUCK IN LONDON!!

Jess on

Sarah you look FANTASTIC!!!! Thank you for being such a positive role model for young girls everywhere. You are already a winner in my book. I see GOLD in your future!

Sly on

Girl you look fabulous and oh so happy!!! I’m proud that you are representing my country!!! Keep that smile and sass going!! SARAH LONDON 2012!!!

jsd79 on

You look stunning!! Good luck in London! Way to follow your dreams!! We’re all rooting for you!

Jon on

I like the Photos, good for her, glad it all worked out!

Snowflakelike on

What a lovely lady, and she is indeed an important role model. The media so often refuses to recognize that there are plenty of women bigger than models who are gorgeous, healthy, smart and successful. The clothing industry fails to recognize this as well – let’s hope that is able to change.

rory on

So happy to see all these POSITIVE comments! She looks fantastic and I can’t wait to watch her compete!

Ed on

She looks great. Get that Gold in London.

Kim on

Wow, what a great story. Brought tears too my eyes! Sarah you look beautiful and Jill God Bless your heart for being such a giving person. Best of luck in London go USA!!!

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