The USA Weightlifting community has been obsessed the last few days with rumor, innuendo, and now confirmation of drug use in our sport. While some are shocked, some are bitter, and some are happy about the drug positives, few people have mentioned the two women who made our US Olympic Weightlfiting Team: Sarah Robles and Holley Mangold. Sarah and Holley represent our best chance at Olympic medals not simply because they're the only ones going, but because they're actually good and competitive on the world stage. Either of these women would have placed fourth at the European Championships with their results from nationals, and based on the number of competitors other countries can send, both Sara and Holley have a good chance to be A Session lifters in London. Another quick fact about this weight class: these women would have been fourth and fifth at Europeans, and Russia had the two top spots. In no other weight class would America have had two of the top five competitors.
Sara is a lifter from Arizona who trains with Joe Micela in Mesa. Her facebook fan page is here: https://www.facebook.com/sarahroblesfanpage. Notice her lifts in training, which are, in fact, world class. Yet no one fawns over her the way they fawn over our male lifters whose lifts, while strong, may or may not be world class.
Holley is perhaps a bit more famous than Sarah because of MTV and her brother. Offensive Lineman, though, aren't really household names, and their younger sisters who lift weights aren't likely to be household names, either. Here's Holley's fanpage: https://www.facebook.com/holleymangold. Again, notice that Holley's lifts (few of which are shown on her page) are pretty damn good. And yet no one gets all hyper about her cleaning over 300 pounds.
We should be ashamed of how our culture avoids these women. In Ironmind, rarely do pictures of female lifters appear. Most other female lifters who appear in print journals or on facebook are idolized for their beauty rather than ability to lift, and others are idolized for the combination of the two. What we've done in our weightlifting community is ignore the performances of these two women so that we can sensationalize the failures of our men. I'm guilty of doing this, too. I've clicked- and contributed to- the thread on www.pendlayforum.com about the drug testing failures. I didn't start a thread over there saying that Sarah and Holley kick ass, made the Olympic team, and are drug free. But what I do is to think these women are damn fine lifters, and they deserve more of our attention and respect than the drug failures do. And this blog is my own little attempt at recognizing these women.
I would like to add a few little things here:
1. Holey has a fansite where, when you buy t-shirts, she gets the proceeds. It's here: http://www.cafepress.com/columbusweightlifting You should go there and buy a T-shirt for her.
2. Sarah could use some support, too. Contact her Coach, Joe Micela, on facebook for ways to support her. Also, check out this special on her: http://www.teamusa.org/Hidden-Pages/Road-to-London-2012-Home.aspx
3. Once a week until the Olympics, mention to these young women that you're proud of them. Seriously, stop trying to watch the CalStrength guys snatch with their shirts off and go tell these chicks they rock.
If you're one of the 30,000 views the pendlay.com thread on Broz' announcement, but you aren't a fan of Holley or Sarah on facebook, go fan them now. Sarah has 221 likes on her fan page, and Holley has 921. You're a bunch of hypocrites if you don't.