He was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and was a resident of Clark, New Jersey when he competed at the 1972 games in Munich, as one of two New Jersey residents on the U.S. handball team. Sparks had been a pitcher on the baseball team at St. Mary of the Assumption High School in Elizabeth, and hadn't picked up the sport of team handball until 1970, when he attended a clinic run by U.S. team coach Peter Buehning.
In 1972 he was part of the American team which finished 14th in the Olympic tournament. He played all five matches and scored three goals.
Four years later he finished tenth with the American team in the 1976 Olympic tournament. He played all five matches and scored four goals.
- Fremon, Suzanne S. "State Has 13 on Olympic Team", The New York Times, August 13, 1972. Accessed November 22, 2017. "Other New Jerseyans on the various Olympic teams are Phillip Grippaldo of Belleville and Frank Capsouras of River Edge, weight lifters; Robert Sparks of Clark and Thomas Hardiman of Trenton, team‐handball players, and Reginald Jones of Newark a light‐middleweight boxer."
- Staff. "Handball Player to Represent Area in Olympics", Rahway News-Record / Clark Patriot, June 1, 1972. "Bob Sparks of Calrk will play for the United States at the indoor team handball competition.... Sparks, who was a star pitcher for the St. Mary's High School baseball team of Elizabeth in 1965, as introduced to team handball in October 1970 in Fort Sam Houston, Tex., where Dr. Peter Buehning of Short Hills, coach of the United States team, operated a clinic there."
|This biographical article related to American handball is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|