Thinkprogress.com has launched an online petition to ask Nike to sponsor 23-year-old weightlifter and American Olympian Sarah Robles.
"America’s strongest woman," who can lift up to 568 pounds and beat out every other American, male and female, in the world championship rankings last year, is barely getting by financially -- as a lack of commercial sponsorship from a major company (such as Nike) is forcing the Olympian to live on $400 a month.
“You can get that sponsorship if you’re a super-built guy or a girl who looks good in a bikini,” Sarah recently said. “But not if you’re a girl who’s built like a guy.” The comments resonate more than ever as the pervasive standards for “sexiness” have jumped out of the modeling and acting fields right into the world of sports – as evidenced by ESPN’s latest “The Body Issue” which features 11 of the “sexiest” American athletes and Olympians.
Still, Sarah is – literally and figuratively – a big, strong role model for girls across the country and around the world. And, commercial sponsorship or not, Robles is part of Team USA; and a medal won in London will have the same weight than a medal achieved by Michael Phelps, Anna Tunnicliffe or any of the other “attractive” Olympians.
And what makes Sarah Robles’ exclusion even more blatant is the fact that Nike recently launched its “Voices” campaign – which honors female athletes in the disciplines of boxing, marathon running and basketball. Isn’t weightlifting sexy enough?