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Rio-bound weightlifter Sarah Robles hopes to inspire Hispanics to try Olympic sports

Rio-bound weightlifter Sarah Robles hopes to inspire Hispanics to try Olympic sports

Posted by PanamericanWorld on July 27, 2016

Mexican-American weightlifter Sarah Robles wants to raise the U.S. flag on high over the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, but at the same time she would love to "inspire young Latino athletes."

"As an Olympic athlete, I represent all Americans, but representing Latinos and Latinas is a great honor," Robles, 27, told EFE.

The Rio Olympics that begin next week will be the second, after London in 2012, in which Robles will compete in the 75-plus kilogram (165 pound) division.

"My Latino Olympic pals and I hope to inspire the next generation of Hispanic kids to go into the streets, to play and try to become Olympic athletes," she said.

"I started weightlifting as part of a program to get in shape for discus throwing," Robles said about how she broke into the sport in 2008 at San Jacinto High School in her hometown of San Diego.

"Over time I realized that weightlifting could be a potential sports career, so I began to compete in California championships," the athlete, who dropped discus-throwing for weightlifting in 2010, recalled.

"Weightlifting has shown me how strong I am," she said.

Robles has won silver medals in the 2008 Junior World Championship and the 2010 Pan American Games and took home the 2015 Russian Federation President's Cup.

Inspired by discus-thrower Margaret "Meg" Elizabeth Ritchie, Robles expressed gratitude to coaches Rich McClure in discus throwing and Joe Micela, who guided her in weightlifting.

"I live in Friendswood, Texas. I train in my coach's garage and two other gyms where I also do multidiscipline exercises," Robles said.

"My body weight remains stable, but I don't have a special diet – however, my favorite meals are Mexican pozole and chilaquiles," said the athlete, who feels "blessed" by her family's economic and emotional support.

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