is "The strongest woman in America." She qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Hello Reddit! Ask me anything.
Hello Reddit! Ask me anything.
Comments: 1581 • Responses: 51 • Date: 2012-07-15 17:33:18 UTCsource
NemanyaMI594 karma2012-07-15 18:09:46 UTC
How much do you squat??
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roblympian1867 karma2012-07-15 18:36:14 UTC
[deleted]306 karma2012-07-15 18:07:46 UTC
Your AMA announcement in the sidebar linked to this article. Do you agree with the title and general sentiment that the article tries to portray?
roblympian685 karma2012-07-15 18:47:32 UTC
When I was interviewed for this article, we talked for a long time about many things. I had no idea what angle she was going to take. I was living off of $400 a month. I was collecting food stamps. I struggled a lot during that time. I asked several companies to sponsor me. I didn't even ask for money. Just a few products that I used. I got some donations to tide me over through the Olympic Trials. I struggled at home and on the platform. To be MY best, I had to focus solely on training. I do feel as if the funding situation in our organization is unfair. I do feel as if my size/appearance could be a contributing factor in lack of sponsorships. Especially with supplement and apparel companies. Generally, I agree with the sentiment of the article.
FuturamaFrenchFry288 karma2012-07-15 18:28:12 UTC
If you could meet anybody in the world, who would that be?
roblympian894 karma2012-07-15 19:15:09 UTC
bailunrui287 karma2012-07-15 17:49:41 UTC
When do you leave for London?
roblympian543 karma2012-07-15 18:04:50 UTC
This coming wednesday
straightuppro260 karma2012-07-15 17:57:20 UTC
Sorry if this is too personal, but tell us about your dating life! Are boys intimidated? Ever fought a boy? Thanks!!!
roblympian581 karma2012-07-15 18:32:48 UTC
I'm sure there are some boys that are intimidated. I tell people upfront that I am a weightlifter and if they are cool with it, that's always a good sign. If they ask more about weightlifting than trying to get to know me for who I am instead of what I do, I don't take interest. I don't date much because I have been so busy and don't have time for them. Weights before dates! When I do get a chance to date, I'm somewhat shy because I am relatively inexperienced when it comes to dating. I have however had some really fun dates and second/ third dates. Fighting? I've never dated anyone long enough to have an argument. If it were to ever get to a point where he would a raise a hand to me, he'd be gone like yesterday's garbage.
rhiesa258 karma2012-07-15 20:00:44 UTC
What can we do to help you, and other athletes in weightlifting? Do you have a donate page?
roblympian333 karma2012-07-15 20:53:54 UTC
I have a paypal account http://prettystrongblog.blogspot.com There's a donate tab on there and it tells you all kinds of ways you can support me and weightlifting
bang_Noir56 karma2012-07-16 03:44:11 UTC
Lmao wth is with the pic Sarah? http://i.imgur.com/1KPW0.jpg
roblympian82 karma2012-07-16 05:39:52 UTC
hahahahaha I don't know why that is a thumbnail for my blog. When I wrote a post, I thought that picture would be both hilarious and relevant.
lawgivers223 karma2012-07-15 17:42:47 UTC
Confirmed on Twitter: https://twitter.com/roblympian/status/224556177156087808
incoming_n_word91 karma2012-07-15 17:45:06 UTC
Who is the biggest guy you have beat at arm wrestling?
roblympian335 karma2012-07-15 17:51:23 UTC
I've only arm wrestled on guy and he was probably like 150 lbs. Skinny+drunk= defeat.
LarryChupacabra192 karma2012-07-15 17:36:38 UTC
What is the strangest thing you had happen either at the gym or an official weight lifting competition?
roblympian421 karma2012-07-15 17:42:36 UTC
I was doing box jumps on the smallest box when I was at NMU and I caught my foot on the edge and slammed my face into the wall. It was pretty awful...and hilarious.
[deleted]172 karma2012-07-15 18:06:53 UTC
roblympian567 karma2012-07-15 18:41:05 UTC
All supplements I take I make sure are not on the USADA/WADA banned list. I believe that sport should be a contest of who is the better athlete. Not who has the better drugs. It's against the rules yet, people proceed to do it. Honesty, integrity, and hard work are the more important factors of success. I can sleep at night knowing I performed my best and honestly.
petraman169 karma2012-07-15 17:36:51 UTC
Thanks for doing this AMA. Just one question: What got you in to weightlifting?
roblympian320 karma2012-07-15 17:44:11 UTC
My throwing coach was a weightlifting coach as well and wanted to have me use weightlifting to get better at track. He had me lift in a few local meets when I was in high school. I went onto college for throwing and when I was throwing at ASU, I met my coach Joe, and he told me I could do well in lifting so I gave it another try. I had some success and switched sports.
username_redacted168 karma2012-07-15 17:49:39 UTC
How do you feel about the lack of exposure you and your sport get compared to others in the Olympics?
roblympian313 karma2012-07-15 18:04:42 UTC
Weightlifting is one of the most popular sports internationally. USA Weightlifting used to be dominant in the 50's and 60's. Popularity of sports goes in and out of style all over the world. Unfortunately, USA weightlifting has fallen out of style so far as being a popular sport to watch or compete in. More people participate in it in the US than most would believe. Our collegiate and professional athlete perform the lifts, crossfitters, some personal training clients, and us weightlifters. It's unfortunate about the level of exposure we get. With vibrant personalities like Holley and Kendrick, and possibly myself, hopefully people will be more drawn to us and want to know more. Lack of funding is a big issue. If we don't perform the USOC withdraws funding. Then the athletes have a harder time training and competing, thus resulting in not so great results, then less money. It almost is never ending. I feel like things are looking good for us though. There are 3 collegiate weightlifting programs. I feel if we were to have weightlifting as a collegiate sport, it would have a better chance. As for getting compared to other athletes, I feel like it's apples to oranges. You can't compare an Olympic Weightlifter with professional baseball player or what ever sport. They are completely different.
KoolGMatt140 karma2012-07-15 17:43:02 UTC
How much can you jerk?
roblympian235 karma2012-07-15 17:53:06 UTC
My best clean and jerk is 150 kgs or 330 lbs.
CircleOfJerk123 karma2012-07-15 17:57:15 UTC
Do you encounter any sexism despite being such an incredible athlete?
roblympian255 karma2012-07-15 18:38:20 UTC
I've mostly experienced it when it comes to funding. All thing being equal, the women have placed higher than the men in international competition yet, most of the time they get less funding than the men. I feel that I have been supported all along my journey. No one has told me I could never do it and I don't feel like I have had any opportunities taken away from me for being a woman
Koussevitzky120 karma2012-07-15 19:00:05 UTC
Three questions, if I may!
I see on your Team USA Profile Page that you want to coach one day. At what point do you think you will stop weight lifting and move to coaching? Will it be easy for you to get a coaching job as an Olympic athlete?
This BuzzFeed article discusses the living conditions that you are in and how you are not heavily sponsored like other Olympic athletes. Is there anything that can make weightlifting more popular in America, as it is in many other countries across the world?
Your Wikipedia page mentions that you have an arm deformity known as Madelung's deformity . How has this affected your lifting?
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! Best of luck at the Olympics!
roblympian118 karma2012-07-15 19:38:11 UTC
1.) I coach part time right now, but, I will coach more full time during my time finishing school and after I graduate school
2.)If weightlifting were televised and presented in a way to make sure people understand what's going on and it's entertaining, people would watch. Also, if it were a collegiate sport, more top athletes would stick around.
3.) Sometimes it hinders what kind of overhead work I can do. I see a chiropractor and massage therapist as well as stretch, ice, and strengthen them. Currently, my wrists are as healthy as they're going to be going into the games
sterlingarcher00697 karma2012-07-16 04:09:12 UTC
What are you studying at school?
roblympian17 karma2012-07-16 05:36:44 UTC
Adapted Physical Education
samtheonionman119 karma2012-07-15 18:09:00 UTC
Hi Sarah! Good luck in the upcoming Olympics.. as a Canadian, I have to say I will be rooting for Christine (Girard).. have you two ever met or are you friends? :)
roblympian264 karma2012-07-15 18:36:05 UTC
I have met her. She's awesome. I can't wait to watch her myself. I always cheer for the Canadians! One of my ancestors found Angus, Ontario, Canada. So a little piece of my heart is Canuck lol
sarfreer255 karma2012-07-15 22:37:04 UTC
You know those times where someone mentions the 7000 person town you live in on Reddit? This is one of those times.
Look forward to cheering for you!
roblympian21 karma2012-07-16 05:45:22 UTC
You seriously live in Angus? That's so cool. Go to the little Museum there. Jonas TarBursh was my 4 or 5 greats grandfather. I am hoping to make the trek up there some day
WhatEvil112 karma2012-07-15 18:05:44 UTC
Just wanted to say that I think it's criminal that female weightlifters don't get more support and sponsorship. Do you really get by on only $400/month? I bought tickets the other day to the womens olympic weightlifting 48kg class (the event was on a saturday and convenient for me to go to) and I think it's going to be really entertaining. Good luck for the olympics.
roblympian148 karma2012-07-15 19:29:27 UTC
Considering my rent is $250 (very generously cheap living situation) $400 doesn't go far after that. Gas, insurance, car payment, competitions, food, medical, etc. I've had donations and help along the way to get me through trials. Weightlifting is really entertaining. The more you watch it and the more you understand, the more exciting it is.
[deleted]106 karma2012-07-15 17:46:49 UTC
How many hours a day do you workout? What do you do on your free time?
roblympian180 karma2012-07-15 17:57:29 UTC
I work out usually anywhere from 4-6 depending on the training cycle. My free time is spent recovering. Eating, sleeping, massage, chiropractic care, stretching, Icing, etc. I do a lot of interviews and photo shoots right now.
Friday nights are team dinner nights and maybe on sunday I will go to a movie or something. I have to do all of the same stuff everyone else does. During track season, I work, I have to keep up with housework, do errands, cook, etc.
darthjenni88 karma2012-07-15 19:07:25 UTC
How hard is it to find athletic clothes that fit? Have you ever thought of starting an athletic clothing line for plus-sized women? Or teaming up with an existing one.
roblympian246 karma2012-07-15 19:49:48 UTC
I'm slowly and hopefully surely working my way into creating a plus sized athletic brand. I almost don't want it to be solely plus sized though. While other brands exclude plus sizes, I don't want to exclude anyone. It is difficult to find athletic clothes but, it can be done with some work.
tyzorflyby200286 karma2012-07-15 18:33:14 UTC
What message would you have to females who are discouraged to lift weights because they think it will hinder their attractiveness and that it's only a "man's thing"?
roblympian333 karma2012-07-15 19:26:22 UTC
Learn more about weightlifting. If women have these ideas it's because they don't know any better. Before you decide to do or not do something, make sure it's an educated decision. Do some research and see if what you think is true. Being confident, loving, and bettering yourself, make you beautiful. Doing or not doing a sport has no bearing on that.
okguysletsdothis72 karma2012-07-15 17:48:04 UTC
roblympian194 karma2012-07-15 17:58:05 UTC
I have terrible upper body strength. I'd rather hustle people in squats or clean and jerks. Haha
psgola60 karma2012-07-15 17:51:03 UTC
What will it take to win a medal, and have you achieved that weight before?
roblympian168 karma2012-07-15 18:21:38 UTC
Historically at the past World Championships and Olympic Games a 275-280 total is what it took. I've done a 270 in training. If you saw that 120, you know I'm good for more. Those are the numbers. There are other factors to consider. Who is in shape, who isn't? Who made/ missed their lifts? Any injuries? Any awesome performances we didn't anticipate? The goal for me is not no miss a single lift and hit personal records. If I do, a medal is within my reach
Koussevitzky53 karma2012-07-15 17:57:06 UTC
Thanks for doing this AMA and for representing America in the Olympics!
Do you ever feel like people are skeptical towards your involvement in a sport that most people associate with men? What do you believe the best way to combat that viewpoint is?
Edit: Sentence structure
roblympian81 karma2012-07-15 18:27:56 UTC
I feel most people have supported me in my journey. I also threw shot put and discus which would typically be associated with men's athletics as well. No one has outwardly said anything like "that's for boys" or "you can't do that." The best way to combat that idea is to just do what you love and not care what anyone else thinks. The people who think or say things like that mostly likely weren't athletes themselves and have no idea what they're talking about
Thomasfoxx47 karma2012-07-15 18:21:27 UTC
Thanks for doing this! What's your opinion on CrossFit?
roblympian91 karma2012-07-15 19:05:11 UTC
Crossfit is great! They love weightlifting and have strong loving communities. I feel however, when coaching weightlifting, you should at least be USAW certified. Some are, some aren't. We have crossfitters come into our gym all the time seeking additional more specified coaching and they love it!
lawgivers46 karma2012-07-15 17:41:59 UTC
What has been your favourite day at the gym?
roblympian136 karma2012-07-15 17:52:24 UTC
Recently, it was when I hit a 120 snatch and a 150 clean and jerk in the same day. It made me finally feel like I was ready for the Olympic Games
cbruins2235 karma2012-07-15 19:32:56 UTC
What does your daily food intake usually consist of? Thanks for the ama and good luck in the olympics!
roblympian67 karma2012-07-15 21:22:00 UTC
In the morning I'll have about 3 eggs, sausage, ham, or bacon, fruit, toast or a "power pancake" and a protein shake. I usually will cook and pack a few days worth of food at a time so I'm ready to go. Lean meats, whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables, milk, etc
bubbal35 karma2012-07-15 17:43:36 UTC
How would you recommend someone improve their Olympic lifting form? Most gyms in the country don't have any trainers that are even slightly qualified to coach the Clean/Snatch, putting many of us on our own. I know that form is one of the primary things keeping me from improving my lifts, so any tips would be really useful!
roblympian55 karma2012-07-15 17:54:12 UTC
Go to USAWeightlifting.org and see if there is anyone close by that you can work with. If not, try watching actual Olympic Athletes on youtube or read a book by Tommy Kono
Joymachine33 karma2012-07-15 17:54:01 UTC
I am a big fan of weight lifting, I love it when a woman makes a ignorant gymrat look like a wuss. Any stories of someone doubting your strength and being blown away, after a lift??
roblympian64 karma2012-07-15 18:24:26 UTC
Not particularly. I think I probably might look like I am strong. So if I were to tell them I was they'd say "duh." Ha.
akfarrell30 karma2012-07-15 18:12:53 UTC
Congratulations on your first Olympics! Do you plan to continue competing at an elite level for as long as you can, or is your "retirement" goal based on starting your next career by a certain time? And would your answer be different if you had better financial support as an athlete?
roblympian71 karma2012-07-15 18:51:19 UTC
It's been a debate of mine during this past year whether or not I want to compete for another quad. Knowing how hard I struggled and the frustrations I've had with my organization were my biggest deterrents. I do have goals though. I want to break the American/Pan Am records. I want to medal at the Olympics/World Championships and win at least one Pan Am title. The World Championships in 2015 will be in Texas. I have Solve Media and Power Bar behind me now and with all that in mind, I still want to compete. For one more quad. Then we'll see what happens. I do still have the rest of my life I want to live eventually.
MissSilvestris29 karma2012-07-15 20:24:09 UTC
As a girl who also enjoys the technicality and beauty of Olympic lifting, thank you! Your lifts are inspiring to watch and it is evident how hard you have worked to get to this point. I am so glad that your donation drive raised enough money to send your coach to the Olympics with you. Good luck in London and I look forward to watching you for a long time!
My question is that usually women have weaker upper body strength than lower body strength. I don't know how long ago you would have had to deal with that since you were a discus thrower in the past but do you find that the snatch and jerk portions of the clean and jerk were harder for you to train than squats and deadlifts (assuming you also do some powerlifting)? And an auxiliary question: what other lifts do you do besides the Olympic lifts to train?
roblympian15 karma2012-07-16 05:14:17 UTC
When I first started lifting full time, we really steered away from the traditional strength lifts and focused more on upper body strength and technical work. I did over head squats, drop snatches, snatch balance, push presses, snatch and hold in bottom, and push jerks. Then once that foundation was built, I focused on more whole movements and pushed leg strength more. I did more upper body work as a thrower but what we do now is more for overhead support and joint health.
sasky_8128 karma2012-07-15 18:23:45 UTC
How much free stuff do you get outfitted with as an Olympian? I know the training years are pretty lean, but do you end up with a bunch of clothes and cool things when you go?
roblympian55 karma2012-07-15 19:13:21 UTC
I've had a few people pitch in to help me with clothes so I look my best in London. PowerBar sent me some gear. I will get all of my Olympic Gear when I actually get in London. Our Itemized list is quite extensive but I know quite a bit of that won't fit appropriately. I'm looking forward to seeing what we get. Makes up for all of the stuff we didn't get when we went to competitions between the Games.
jimcrator26 karma2012-07-15 18:59:21 UTC
Out of your competitors (e.g. Jang Miran, Tatiana, Zhou Lulu etc.), who do you respect the most and why?
roblympian48 karma2012-07-15 19:46:17 UTC
Jang Mi Rans performance at the 2009 world championships is still fresh in my mind. Her strength, faith, and true competitive spirit is unmatched. I respect any athlete who competes fairly and with a do or die attitude.
Brynnderella26 karma2012-07-15 19:01:39 UTC
Read that you had a hard time finding sponsors. With the Olympics around the corner have you had anyone sign on to sponsor you? If so, who and why did they finally decide to support you?
roblympian63 karma2012-07-15 19:48:07 UTC
Solve Media and I are now working together. They like my fighting spirit, strength, and personality. We have similar ideas and I know we're going to do great things together lifting each other up.
TopsyToppington25 karma2012-07-15 18:24:20 UTC
Is your training all progressive heavy lifting, or do you mix in lower weight training? And when did you know just how strong you are?
roblympian44 karma2012-07-15 19:14:53 UTC
I know how strong I am when I am in competition. That's really the moment of truth right? The further away from competition we are, the lighter the weights but more reps and technical work we have. The closer to the meet we are, the heavier the weights but lighter in volume.
[deleted]23 karma2012-07-15 18:42:53 UTC
roblympian54 karma2012-07-15 19:41:08 UTC
[deleted]22 karma2012-07-15 19:09:07 UTC
Were you ever bullied by other girls making fun of you because your form is different then yours? how did you deal with it?
roblympian59 karma2012-07-15 19:52:40 UTC
Because of my body shape? Yes I was bullied throughout the latter years of elementary school all into high school. People realized I had talent and had a fun personality and eventually the kids chilled out. I was upset a lot of the time with the bullying but I kept going to school and did the things I loved, and kept making friends. They never discouraged me to the point where I gave up and hid away
LastRedCoat22 karma2012-07-15 18:16:35 UTC
Do you think the Team USA Olympics opening ceremonies outfits are overpriced? Should they have been made in America?
roblympian54 karma2012-07-15 19:03:37 UTC
They're free for me. That's a good price haha. Well, seeing as their clothes have been made internationally anyway, I don't see what all the hubub is all about right now. People could have easily not supported the company in the first place knowing that information. I'm thankful I get nice, free, tailored Opening/Closing ceremonies outfits. Ralph Lauren stepped up and took on that task.
tklite21 karma2012-07-15 18:30:36 UTC
Fist off, best of luck at the Olympics.
I know you've touched on these subjects before, but I can't recall if you've addressed these specific angles.
1) What could the USOC and USAW be doing better to help US weightlifters be more competitive on the World stage?
2) Do you feel USOC/USADA's drug testing policies (especially the frequency of testing) are too restrictive?
3) When you retire, do you want lifting to maintain a key role in your life?
roblympian27 karma2012-07-15 19:24:00 UTC
1.) A. I think weightlifting could support their top athletes better. The allocation of funds could be more fair and better distributed.
B. If weightlifter were a collegiate sport, we'd have more opportunities for keeping our top athletes around.
C. Having a unified training philosophy. It's difficult for athletes to keep adapting to a new training methodology every time they graduate on to need a new coach. If we could coach all athletes with the same philosophy, athletes would be more successful at the Elite Level
2.) I feel our drug testing policies are good and I wished more countries would model their programs after us
TooTallGotVertigo19 karma2012-07-15 18:14:36 UTC
roblympian44 karma2012-07-15 18:59:28 UTC
It has affected it I guess. I don't have time to date and meet new people. I guess it's a good thing though. It would be difficult for a boyfriend/husband to understand and support my career. Most guys my age are busy doing silly things anyway. By the time, I'm really ready to get myself out there, hopefully they've settled down and matured a bit. It's easier to date when you don't have to revolve it around your training, competing, and travel schedules. I've learned to expect the best out of my self and others in this process. If someone is not willing to pursue excellence in whatever their endeavors, they are really worth my time. I only want to be surrounded by happy, healthy, people who want the best out of me and I them.
THEAdrian16 karma2012-07-15 20:06:50 UTC
Have you ever considered training with Coach Pendlay at MDUSA in South Carolina?
They recently held tryouts there and the stipends offered were quite sizable, with the top lifters earning $1000/month. As a struggling athlete who is headed to the Olympics, it seems you could easily make the team and thus, increase your monthly income, but then again, I don't know of any internal politics that may make this an issue.
roblympian27 karma2012-07-15 20:54:44 UTC
I am friends with several of the lifters that train there. From what I know and have seen with Glenn's program it would not suit me very well.
TangerineX15 karma2012-07-15 19:27:23 UTC
What advice do you have for people who want to start lifting? Also, when was your biggest slump in performance and how did you overcome it?
roblympian20 karma2012-07-15 21:20:12 UTC
My biggest slump in weightlifting was when I was preparing for the Pan Am Games and World Championships last year. They were two weeks apart. I was struggling to recover, and maintain my body weight. When I got to Pan Ams, I bombed out. That means I failed to at least complete one lift from one of the disciplines we compete in. I had to come back in two weeks and try to score points so we could get more olympic slots. I did well enough to do so but it was still a disappointing performance. The only things I could do to come back from that time in my life was to give it time. Then, I had to just work on all of the little things that were the problem. I had to have more consistency in my life as well as attack my mental and technical issues.
DowagerCountess15 karma2012-07-15 20:09:49 UTC
hi, i've read a bit about you previously, and i just wanted to say that you seem really awesome!and good luck on your training/competitions. but since this is an AmA...what would you say to a young girl who wanted to follow in your footsteps, but wasn't sure how to apart from starting to lift? any advice on what non-physical challenges she may have to face?
roblympian21 karma2012-07-15 22:19:35 UTC
When participating in sport expecially at a high level, there's going to be a lot of sacrifice, pain, pressure, and heart ache. There's going to be great performance, fun friends, and amazing adventures. Good and bad, it's all worth it
looper22214 karma2012-07-15 19:59:57 UTC
Have you ever injured yourself lifting or exercising? And how did those (if any) injuries affect you?
roblympian24 karma2012-07-15 20:52:46 UTC
No injuries. Weightlifting has helped give me a clean bill of health
TheSlothGeneral12 karma2012-07-15 19:08:22 UTC
What is the coolest part about the olympics that you have experienced so far?
roblympian20 karma2012-07-15 19:50:23 UTC
Being an Olympian! I watch commercials and read articles and it's surreal that I am part of the movement
kampfy310 karma2012-07-15 18:38:52 UTC
Do you use the metric system in all aspects of your life now, or only with regards to weightlift-y things?
roblympian17 karma2012-07-15 19:41:00 UTC
mostly in regards to weightlifting. lol but, sometime I try to convert lbs to kgs in my head to make more sense
PagingCraig10 karma2012-07-15 19:13:51 UTC
Can you recommend a place in Georgia (or near Atlanta) where I can learn how to properly olympic lift?
roblympian14 karma2012-07-15 19:53:37 UTC
Petraptor9 karma2012-07-15 18:44:08 UTC
You were struggling with the finances to get to London. Did the publicity about it help you raise the money? Were you surprised by the showing of support (or lack thereof)?
roblympian14 karma2012-07-15 19:42:04 UTC
The Buzzfeed article, which lead to the Indiegogo campaign led to a lot of support with donations and a new sponsorship with Solve Media
marstectonics6 karma2012-07-15 18:53:10 UTC
How does it feel knowing you're stronger than most people?
And what goes through your mind as you're lifting for a personal record?
roblympian10 karma2012-07-15 19:44:17 UTC
Sometimes it's scary to go for a new personal record but most of the time it's exciting! I like to compete with myself and others. It's a rush!I usually only have one or two technical things I'm trying to remember then I go for it. I feel just like everyone else. Just more helpful at times. haha
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