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


FILED UNDER: Athletes , Fashion
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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!

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!!!

Fran on

This is the type of story we need on the front page of magazines and papers. It is so nice to read something positive!!! Wishing you luck in the Olympics. GOOOO USA!!!!!

guest on

You look beautiful, Sarah! Go get ’em in London! We are proud to have you represent us!

amy n on

go Sarah go – you look so awesome and so beautiful – we are so proud to have you representing us in the Olympics – you are going to do great in England – :-)

Amy on

What a great role model. She has an inspirational story and represents the USA so well. Go Sarah and the USA!

Kim on

Love that second dress! Lookin’ good! Best of luck!

stephprimavera on

You go girl :)

loristeib on

What an incredible role model for us all – young girls and young at heart! Good luck, Sarah…and you should show off those fabulous gams as much as possible!!

Leslie on

I don’t understand how you can be a fat athlete. I’m confused.

comment on

Weight lifter? A professional weight lifter? She just looks like a normal chubby woman.

Maria on

One of the strongest women in the world? At 275lbs and lifting only 550 lbs she doesn’t even stack up against some of the other ladies in lower weight classes in the olympics. Take the GORGEOUS Lidia Valentin for instance who at the euro 2012 championships came in 2nd place with an overall total of 574lbs. By the way…most of you PROBABLY don’t lift and thus don’t know that that 550 lbs is not done in one fell swoop. It is CUMULATIVE which means she isn’t even to do bodyweight in at least one of the lifts (either the snatch or clean and jerk). The total weight is a summation of the two lifts. Not to mention looking at some of the other ladies in the 75+kg category — Nahla Ramadan Mohamed of Egypt and Hripsime Khurshudyan of Armenia look nothing like this girl — they have muscle. Also, there’s no way she’ll win with Tatiana Kashirina lifting for Russia — at 21 and 176lbs this young lady already holds the world record for the snatch in addition to holding the world record for TOTAL weight lifted overall at 327kg aka 720lbs. In any case I’ll be cheering on Lidia and some of the other lovely fine ladies.

Christina on

This is a fantastic article about a fantastic role model!!! Go Sara! You already won the gold in my book!!!

Christina on

Maria is a hater loool!! Haters come knocking when you’re at the top. Don’t hate the player hate the game!!

Maria on

“At the top?” you’ve GOT to be kidding me.

Marie on

I don’t care what you say, there is nothing healthy about a 5’10” , 275 pound woman. period.

StyleWatch Fan on

For Ms. Robles: You go, girl! You look terrific! The best of luck to you, and thank you in advance for representing our country so well. For the haters: Style is a function of fashion, intelligence, humility, and poise. Size doesn’t matter. THAT is why Mrs. Robles is represented here.

Kimberly Nelson on

Go Sarah!!!! :-) such a wonderful human being. & inspirational!

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