Sarah Robles is literally the strongest woman in the United States. As a professional weightlifter, this 23-year-old can lift up to 568 pounds and beat out every other American, male and female, in the world championship rankings last year.
Still, Sarah is barely getting by — she lives on $400 a month — because, unlike some of her fellow competitors who are the best in their fields, she doesn’t have the backing of a major company.
Maybe it’s because weight lifting isn’t considered the “sexiest” sport in the Olympics. Maybe companies only want to sponsor female athletes whose bodies fit into what they’d like to package and sell as perfect.
“You can get that sponsorship if you’re a super-built guy or a girl who looks good in a bikini,” Sarah recently said. “But not if you’re a girl who’s built like a guy.”
Sarah is a big, strong role model for girls, and she deserves a smart sponsor.
Nike recently launched their “Voices” campaign, which honors great female athletes like boxer Marlen Esparza, marathon runner Joan Benoit Samuelson, and WNBA players Lisa Leslie and Diana Taurasi. Women who run, box and play basketball. Why not a woman who lifts weights? Why isn’t Sarah Robles on their list?
When Sarah Robles wins a medal at the Olympics this year, she should take the podium knowing that she won’t be living in poverty any more.
Tell Nike to step up — give Sarah a living wage, and give girls all different types of role models to look up to. Tell them to sponsor Sarah Robles.