In the final event for U.S. athletes at the 2017 IWF World Weightlifting Championships, super heavyweight Sarah Robles was simply unstoppable.
The 2016 Olympic bronze medalist swept the event with gold medals in the snatch, clean & jerk and total weight on Tuesday in Anaheim, California, giving the U.S. its first world champion in weightlifting since Robin Byrd in 1994. She is just the fourth U.S. woman in history to win a world title and the first since women’s weightlifting was added to the Olympics in 2000.
Robles also made history in Rio when she broke a 16-year medal drought for U.S. weightlifters.
The 29-year-old was a perfect 6-for-6 with a winning lift of 126 kg. in her final attempt in the snatch and 158 kg. in her final attempt in the clean & jerk for a total of 284 kg.
Finishing in second place in total weight was New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard at 275 kg., and Shaimaa Haridy of Egypt was third with 268 kg.
Robles opened the competition lifting 118 kg., the same weight she started with in Rio in 2016 when she went 6-for-6 en route to the Olympic bronze medal. Hubbard opened at 120 kg., moving into the lead and setting up the snatch competition that ultimately came down to her and Robles.
Robles moved up to 122 kg. and made it look easy. When Mexico’s Tania Mascorro didn’t make her attempt at 123 kg., Robles moved up to 124 kg., forcing Hubbard to do the same for her second attempt. She got up but was slow to rise and shaky, so when Robles then went up to 126 kg., the race for gold was on. Robles again looked strong, even holding the bar overhead longer than necessary after missing the down sign, and Hubbard couldn’t match the effort, finishing with the silver medal. Mascorro took bronze.
In the clean and jerk, Robles opened with 150 kg., then moved up to 154 kg. and ended with 158 kg., not attempting to beat Cheryl Haworth’s U.S. record of 161 kg. Robles’ total weight was just three kilos shy of tying Haworth’s record from 2005.