Holley Mangold went from an Internet sensation to a legitimate contender for the 2012 Olympic weightlifting team.
Mangold, the younger sister of New York Jets center Nick Mangold, played high school football at Archbishop Alter High School in Ohio. Instead of trying to pursue football in college, Holley, who tips in at 300 pounds, switched sports after her coach noticed how much she could lift.
She will be featured Thursday on MTV’s True Life: I’m The Big Girl, which documents her weight loss and her pursuit of the Olympics. SportsNewser spoke to Holley about following in her brother’s footsteps in high school and dealing with Internet bullies.
SportsNewser: What inspired you to get into weightlifting?
Holley Mangold: I think it started from me first playing football. I was in the weight room one day and my coach said I was pretty strong for a girl. I started off doing power lifting and switched over to weight lifting.
How is training going for the 2012 Olympics?
Training is going great. I did have surgery about four months ago, but two months after that surgery, I went and competed and was back up to the weight I was doing before. Right now I’m hitting numbers that I’ve never hit before. It’s going really good.
What are some of those numbers?
In the snatch, I’ve been hitting around 105 kg, which is like 230 pounds. In the clean and jerk, I’ve been hitting around 130 kg, which is about 280-290 pounds.
What influence did your brother, Nick Mangold, play on your life?
He was a huge influence. I don’t know how happy he was about having his little sister play football in the beginning. Once I started playing and he realized I wasn’t going to quit, he just wanted me to do everything right and be the best I possibly could be. He even drove me to some weight training practices – he was very supportive.
Did any of your sisters decide to follow in your footsteps?
No, they haven’t. My oldest sister was a swimmer. She’s actually a marathoner now. And my youngest sister … there’s no way she could play football or any kind of contact sport. She’s the brainiac of the family.
When you weren’t playing football or aren’t lifting, you’re a girly girl, right?
Yeah, I am in certain ways. I like to get dressed up and go out to a bar and I like to have a lot of fun. Although I am manly in some aspects, I’m girly in other ways. I don’t like insects or creepy crawlers. I’m very girly yet I have these manly tendencies.
How do you deal with the mean-spirited people in the world?
I think I find comfort in knowing that most of them wouldn’t say it in my face if they met me. So, I’m OK with it. The only people that have been mean to me or made fun of me are online. You can’t take that seriously because they’re online in the middle of the day, so they obviously don’t have a job or a life. If I get it in my face, I say “You know what, not everyone is going to like you.” You can’t really get down on that.
What do you want folks to take away from your True Life episode?
I hope they take away that you can really do whatever you want to do. People are going to tell you a lot of things in life and that you can’t accomplish something or do something because either you’re a female or too large. A lot of people try to put you down and I think that I try to come above it, so I hope people take that away from my show.