Remember Sarah Robles, the Olympic-bound weightlifter whose financial struggles shed light upon the politics of corporate sponsorship for athletically-shaped women and, broadly, all weightlifters? Thanks to a petition launched by ThinkProgress, Robles has partnered with Solve Media, an internet ad company that will make her Olympics trip, and the prospect of the US winning a gold medal in women’s weightlifting, possible.
When Ari Jacoby, CEO of Solve Media, read that Robles survived on $400 a month, he knew he had to intervene and make a difference in the life of the 23-year-old weightlifter: “It wasn’t the first time I had heard of her, but for me it was the first time I understood her sacrifice and what she was doing to achieve her dreams,” Jacoby told ThinkProgress in a phone interview. “It really hit home for me. The article caused me to reach out to her.”
Although anyone who, despite living on a few hundred dollars a month, endeavors to represent her country and place at the London Olympics should receive appreciation on her own, the sudden surge in long overdue recognition for Robles is likely due to a collective internet rage directed at corporate sponsors that refuse to assist bodies that don’t fit into a neat metaphorical package for consumption; bodies like Sarah’s.
In addition to sponsoring Robles, Solve Media has also partnered with archer Brady Ellison. Together, the Olympians will do meet and greets, videos, and other multimedia projects after they compete in London. Solve Media has also promised to overhaul Robles’ blog.
What’s perhaps most heartening about this sponsorship is the attitude that Solve Media is taking toward their sponsorship: according to Jacoby, “it’s [Solve Media's] responsibility in the advertising tech community to get the word out that we can all do well in business by doing the right thing.” I have to say, a company advocating that other corporations hold themselves to decent standards is a pretty bright light in a dark age of sinister corporate shiftiness. Now, it is upon other corporate sponsors to follow suit — there is value in supporting America’s women athletes, bikini-body or not.
We wish Sarah Robles the best of luck as she travels to London this Wednesday to compete in the 2012 Olympics!
(via Think Progress.)
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