The Mangolds from Ohio are not an ordinary family. Nick Mangold is an All-Pro center for the New York Jets, and his younger sister Holley Mangold will represent the U.S. in weightlifting in London. How does one family end up with an NFL star and an Olympian? Holley talked to Fourth-Place Medal and said it is good genes, supportive parents, and a whole lot of competitiveness.
"My parents did the greatest thing for us. They threw us into sports when we were younger, and let us do whatever sport we wanted to. We did gymnastics, both my brother and I and my two sisters. We did a lot of sports. What it did was help us in every aspect of our personality and our lives. I think that and some good genes helped us get to where we are today."
As kids, Nick and Holley were competitive. Just like younger sisters everywhere, Holley would often egg on the competition.
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"We were super-competitive, and I would do little things to egg him on. It was more me, pretty much with anything. It's in our nature, and we played outside a lot, and it was a very competitive nature. I thought it was cool to eat the most."
As adults, Holley says the two are supportive, not competitive.
"He's doing his own thing, and he's really good, and I'm doing my own thing. We're honestly proud of each other. I'm proud of my brother. He's a hard worker and a great leader, and he's done some great stuff. I'm proud of him, and I know he's proud of me. The competitiveness has died down a bit. I focus it more towards weightlifting, instead of everything else in my life."
Though Nick maintains he can lift more than his sister, Holley takes a more diplomatic track.
"I'm not going to even touch that! I think we're equally great in our own sports. He's a better football player than me, I'm a better weightlifter than him."
Since the Jets will be in training camp, Nick won't make the trip to London to cheer on his sister. Luckily, she will compete on Aug. 5, an off day for Jets. As a fellow elite athlete, Holley understands Nick's absence.
"I'd choose training over going to one of his games, so I totally understand it. It's a bummer, but I know he'll be watching. I'm happy for his support, and I know it will be there."
As the sister of an NFL player and someone with a personality as big as the weights she lifts, Mangold has received plenty of attention. She appeared on MTV's "True Life," and has been profiled on HBO's "Real Sports," and the New York Times. At first, she was uncomfortable with it, but now sees it as a way to inspire people.
"I've come to accept it, and try to take that attention and focus it onto hopefully inspiring kids and young people to go out and do what they want. Not worry about what people think. One of the things my sister always tells me I'm blessed with is I'm a super-confident person. I usually do things when they're not normal. I was born with that, and I'm trying to push other people to be like that."
She also hopes that as people tune in to weightlifting to watch her, they think about trying the sport.
"If I can spread my story and inspire to pick up the weights and start training, that's great. I want to spread our sport. Weightlifting is not all that popular in America, and it's a fun, crazy, awesome sport. Our sport is used for every other sport to help training. I see this as an opportunity for weightlifting to become more popular in the states."
Mangold competes in the 75+ kilogram weight class, and says her optimal weight for competition is 330 pounds. After she retires from weightlifting, she wants to drop the weight to try other sports.
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"I love sports, and I love competitiveness, and everything having to do with it. I've become friends with wrestlers out here, and I would like to try wrestling. I'd have to drop about 100 kilos [220 pounds] from my weight. Weightlifting is the sport for me, but I will always love playing and trying other sports. When I do retire, I'll definitely pick up volleyball again because I really enjoyed that. I know I'll do something, but I'll have to drop some weight before that."
She has dropped weight in the past, and isn't concerned about doing it again.
"What most people don't know is around two years ago, I weighed 390. In four months, I dropped 90 pounds and went down to 300. I was just eating right and weightlifting. I'm not going to say it was the easiest thing in the world. I've gained some weight back. I'm excited to do stuff like Crossfit. I like working out. I think it's fun. I don't think losing weight will be too challenging. It's definitely a lot harder to get to the Olympics than lose weight!"
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