Sports

Roberts hopes to pin down Olympic dream in '08

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

Sally Roberts’ world wrestling tour is currently in full swing.

The 1999 Federal Way High School graduate has been around the globe and back chasing the dream of competing at the Olympic Games.

Roberts recently won the United States World Team Trials in Ames, Iowa, to earn a coveted berth into the 2005 World Wrestling Championships, which will be held in Budapest, Hungary, Sept. 26-Oct. 2. It will be Roberts’ second appearance at the World Championships. She won a bronze medal two years ago in the 130-pound weight class.

Roberts, who currently lives at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., beat Tela O’Donnell in the championship match in Iowa. O’Donnell wrestled in the Olympics last year.

“It definitely gives (me) a little bit more credibility,” Roberts said. “But at the same time, she’s just another wrestler and it’s one more person I have to beat in order to become a world champion.”

Roberts has also wrestled in tournaments across Europe during the last four months. She finished second at the Klippan (Sweden) Ladies Open March 7 after losing the title match to Japan’s Mio Nishimaki, third at the Medved International in Minsk, Belarus, and was fifth at the Women’s World Cup in Clermont-Ferrad, France in May.

Roberts seems to be on track to earning a spot on Team USA at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. But that was also the case before last year’s Olympics in Athens.

In 2003, she was the national champion and finished third at the World Championships. However, the 130-pound weight is a non-Olympic weight class.

So when 2004 came around, Roberts had to choose to move up or down in weight. She moved up to 139 pounds, and while competitive, it was too much for her to handle, by her own admission.

Now, Roberts is back at 130, where she is the best wrestler in the United States.

“I have to do everything right to make 130 pounds, which brings everything together with my training and my nutrition,” she said.

Roberts thinks the 130-pound division will be added before the Beijing Olympics.

“I really, in my heart, believe they are going to put the rest of the weight classes in, so I would like to stay here,” Roberts said. “I feel that I fit at 130 comfortably and I plan to stay there as long as I can. And in the event that they decide not to add it as an Olympic weight class, then I will talk to my coaches and decide when the right time is to make a move up or down.”

Roberts’ wrestling career started as a eighth-grader at Sacajawea Middle School and continued through high school, where she was the only girl on the Federal Way team. After high school, she went on to the University of Minnesota-Morris, where she wrestled for two years before transferring to Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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