10 Questions for U S Nationals champion Sally Roberts

By John Fuller | June 11, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)
2002-03 Team USA Ranking: No. 4 at 63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Years on Team USA: 1 (2003-04)
Residence: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Club: Gator WC
College: Pacific Univ., UM-Morris
High School: Federal Way, Wash. (Federal Way HS)
Born: November 30, 1980 in Grants Pass, Ore.
Height: 5-6

1. How important was winning the U.S. Nationals for you personally?

Roberts: I am one more stepping stone to my ultimate goal, Olympic Gold. It was great, but it is not the ultimate success.

2. You completely dominated the tournament, winning twice by technical superiority and once more by fall. What have you been doing to separate yourself so far from many of the other competitors in your weight class?

Roberts: Wow, I have been training like a mad woman. Really, for me to even make 59 kilos, I have to be in the best shape. I am always training-wrestling, running, swimming. I have made lifestyle changes to help be able to compete against the best.

3. After winning the Dave Schultz Memorial International, did you begin to gain a lot of confidence in your abilities on the mat?

Roberts: Yeah, that was the tournament for me that helped me realize what I could do. Weight-wise, wrestling-wise, mentally. Finally, it is all starting to come together. I found my zone.

4. What are you going to do in preparation for your best-of-three finals at the World Team Trials?

Roberts: That's a secret. No, just kidding. I am going to be working on my holes, relaxing, and getting prepared mentally for two tough matches.

5. Erin Tomeo is probably your closest competitor. With her being a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center with you, do you think she will be able to close the gap on you more by observing you in the practice room?

Roberts: Maybe. Those are things that I can't worry about. I am aware of it, but I can't let it get to me. I just want her to see how hard I'm working. Let her know if she wants to beat me she'll have to train just as hard and put in just as much time. It's crazy how I have been training.

6. If you win the spot on the U.S. World Team, do you expect there to be another series of challenges at your weight class from the second and third-place finishers in the Olympic weights?

Roberts: I am expecting that there will be. If I had the option of challenging, I would. One more opportunity to make the National Team, no doubt.

7. What are your thoughts on those challenges?

Roberts: I have to get through the Trials first. Then its, bring it on!

8. Could you be at the point you are now without the resident athlete program in Colorado Springs?

Roberts: No, the conditions are perfect for me. All I have to do is train. That's what I love doing and it's consuming me. Being there feeds my passions and leaves me with little worries. I could not have asked for a better opportunity.

9. Who has been your biggest influence since you became a resident athlete?

Roberts: Any answer less than Terry Steiner would be a lie. He has shown me intensity, drive, passion, heart, true success and failure - and the difference between the two. I have developed so much mentally from him. I learned this more from his words, I learned this from his actions. Really, I could keep going, and going, and going about all he has done for me.

10. When the Olympic Team Trials come around, what weight do you plan to compete at and why?

Roberts: I am going to 138 because I like myself enough to not torture myself further. Everyone that knows me knows that 59 kilos is tough, to say the least. Besides, I need to be in the finals against McMann.