How The US Won Its First International Weightlifting Title In 23 Years

Sarah Robles, the American super heavyweight competing in 2017 IWF World Weightlifting Championships, managed to hold onto the lead in the final event of the competition.

After her third place finish in the 2016 Olympics, she cleaned up big time in the final event, winning gold medals for snatch and clean & jerk for total weight in the event that took place in Anaheim, California.

Robles’s win makes it the first time the United States has earned a world champion title in weightlifting since Robin Byrd took gold in 1994.

There have only been four American women in history who have women international titles, and Robles is the first to take gold in the World Championships since weightlifting was added to the Olympic roster in 2000.

How The US Won Its First International Weightlifting Title In 23 Years

This is not the first time that Robles has broken records. When she won the bronze at the Olympics in 2017, she broke a losing streak that saw the US going 16 years without earning a single Olympic medal in weightlifting.

At 29 years old, she managed to lift a total of 626 pounds between her events, which is actually less than her total from the 2016 Olympics. History was also made by the second place winner, Laurel Hubbard, who won New Zealand’s first international medal for a sporting event.

Hubbard is also notable as one of the first openly transgender athletes to compete in the world championships for an Olympic sport.

How The US Won Its First International Weightlifting Title In 23 Years

While transgender athletes are allowed to compete in the Olympics, so far, none have. Hubbard has previously competed in men’s weightlifting, under the name Gavin Hubbard. It seems other competitors weren’t as thrilled by her presence, which nonetheless was impressive.

Robles and Hubbard likely prevailed in this year’s World Championship due to a number of disqualifications prior to the event. Both the Chinese and Russian teams were barred from competing in the championships due to the recent discovery that many of their athletes were taking steroids.

North Korea, the other big contender in weight lifting, did not send a team this year.