Sarah Robles
USA Weightlifting

U.S. ends world weightlifting title drought; transgender lifter gets silver

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Sarah Robles, who in Rio earned the first U.S. Olympic weightlifting medal since 2000 (super heavyweight bronze), on Tuesday became the first American to win a world title since 1994.

The 29-year-old lifted two fewer kilograms than she did in Rio — a total of 626 pounds between the snatch and the clean and jerk in Anaheim, Calif.

The last American to win a world title was Robin Byrd in 1994.

New Zealand’s Laurel Hubbard took silver with 606 total pounds, the first-ever world medal for her country.

Hubbard, 39, previously competed in men’s weightlifting as Gavin Hubbard, according to Reuters, which reported that Hubbard continued to decline interviews Tuesday, as she has for much of this year.

“She stayed away because she was embarrassed, probably,” Robles’ coach, Tim Swords, said, according to Reuters. “When Sarah beat Hubbard in the snatch, we were congratulated by multiple coaching staffs. Nobody wanted her to win.”

Hubbard may be the first openly transgender athlete to compete at a world championships in an Olympic sport. No openly transgender athlete has competed at an Olympics, though Olympic rules allow it.

Robles, Hubbard and others benefited from the absence of countries banned for doping issues, like weightlifting powers China and Russia, and North Korea, another strong lifting nation, not sending a team.

Chinese and North Korean lifters won gold and silver in the super heavyweight division in Rio.

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Team USA’s Robles takes bronze in women’s 75+ kg weightlifting

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American weightlifter Sarah Robles fell short of her first Olympic gold medal, instead settling for bronze in the 75+ (165 lbs.) kg division.

WATCH: U.S. weightlifter Sarah Robles earns bronze medal in 75+ kg

Robles lifted a total weight of 286 kilograms in the snatch and clean and jerk lifts, with only China’s Meng Suping and North Korea’s Kim Kuk-Hyang posting higher totals. Kim surpassed Robles’ total on her first lift in the clean and jerk portion of the competition, with the 162 kg lift pushing her to a total of 293 kg, with Kim’s final weight lifted being 306 kilograms.

WATCH: They lifted WHAT?! Converting kilograms to other objects

While Kim’s total was impressive, she was outdone by Meng whose lift of 177 kilograms on her final clean and jerk attempt won her the gold medal. Meng finished with a total weight lifted of 307 kilograms, taking by gold by a single kilogram.

Robles’ bronze medal is the first weightlifting medal for the U.S. since 2000. During those Games, Tara Nott won a gold in 48kg and Cheryl Haworth won a bronze in 75+kg, and on Sunday Robles joined those two as the only American women to win a medal in Olympic weightlifting.

U.S. Olympic women’s weightlifting team complete; no Holley Mangold

Holley Mangold
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The U.S. is sending three women’s weightlifters to the Rio Olympics, but 2012 Olympian Holley Mangold is not one of them.

Fellow London Olympian Sarah Robles, who served a doping ban from 2013 to 2015, and first-time Olympian Morghan King joined the already-qualified Jenny Arthur on the Rio team following the Olympic Trials in Salt Lake City on Sunday night.

No U.S. man has earned an Olympic place yet, but eight will head to a Pan American qualifying event in Colombia in June for the chance at one U.S. berth.

Mangold, the younger sister of New York Jets Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold, completed one of her six lifts at the Olympic Trials, dealing with wrist problems in training, according to NBC Sports Live Extra commentators.

Mangold finished 10th in the super heavyweight class at the London Olympics and 13th and 23rd at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships. She also tattooed the Olympic rings on the side of her head.

Robles, also a super heavyweight, was the top U.S. lifter across all men’s and women’s classes at the 2012 Olympics (seventh place) and the 2015 Worlds (sixth place).

She tested positive for an exogenous androgenic anabolic steroid and/or its metabolites in 2013 and was banned for two years until last August. Robles said she took the supplement DHEA to treat a hormone disorder, which led to the failed drug test.

She failed to complete a snatch lift Sunday, but results in previous competitions boosted Robles onto her second Olympic team.

“I’m glad things ended up working out, because it was kind of hell for those last couple years,” Robles said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The eight men who will vie for one possible Olympic spot in a Pan American event in Colombia in June are 2012 Olympian Kendrick Farris plus Norik Vardanian, Alex Lee, Caine Wilkes, James Tatum, Wesley Kitts, Travis Cooper and Donovan Ford.

The U.S. has not won an Olympic or World Championships weightlifting medal since 2005.

MORE: Full list of U.S. athletes qualified for Rio Olympics