By all accounts, Sarah Robles has had an incredible Rio Olympics.
On Sunday, Robles won bronze in the super heavyweight division. It was the first U.S. medal in weightlifting in 16 years.
When Robles made her final lift that would secure her bronze, she let out a scream that could be heard throughout Rio, dropped to her sunflower-patterned knee guards and slapped the floor. She then got up, blew kisses to the crowd and curtsied off the stage in her mismatched socks.
U.S. & World
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It was a fitting reaction from an athlete who has a larger-than-life personality.
The California native is boisterous before her lifts, letting out a giant scream before attempts.
“Sometimes I yell before I lift to scare away the bad guys that are in there,” she told NBC Sports. “If I’m the loudest voice, there’s no one else in my mind telling me I can’t do it.”
Robles’ exuberance continued Sunday on the medal stand, where she was captured in a not-so-traditional medal pose.
Later, with that bronze medal around her neck, Robles dropped to the floor and did “platform angels” to celebrate even more.
Robles bronze is the first medal for a U.S. weightlifter since Tara Nott and Cheryl Haworth medaled in 2000. The last U.S. men’s medal was in 1984.
So this was a big deal. And Robles knew exactly who her first phone call was going to be to after the medal ceremony.
“You have to call your grandma,” she said. “They’re old, you never know what’s going to happen. I might as well call her first. I’m not going to wait until I get home or the next time I see her. I knew she’d appreciate it. I love calling her on Sundays. She loves when I say ‘Happy Sunday.’ So that was the happiest of Sundays and I had to share it with her.”
She also shared some final thoughts on Instagram, with a very moving post about everything she’s been through to become an Olympic medalist:
You want to have this moment?
People calling you a cheat?
Getting bullied for being fat?
No place to train?
Bombed out at your last meet?
Being told you didn't earn it?
It's been a long, tough, journey but, I battled my way back.
The best performance of my life! Three personal records, made all of my lifts, got closer to the American and Pan American Records, became one of only three American women to earn a medal at the Olympic Games and showed people that it can be done! iSi se puede!