Olympics 2012: Team USA's Athletes Gunning for London Gold

The Comedic Champ: Weightlifter Holley Mangold

Holley Mangold
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Here's what would happen in a just world after the Olympics are over: Weightlifter Holley Mangold would no longer be known as the kid sister of New York Jets Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold. Instead, Nick would be known, at least until the opening week of the NFL season, as the older brother of Holley, the biggest, brassiest personality on the American Olympic team.

At five feet eight and 340 pounds, Holley, who competes in the superheavyweight division, is also, literally, one of the biggest athletes in London. "I wanted to be in the Olympics for gymnastics," she says. "But that didn't really pan out." What makes Mangold so compelling isn't merely her size or that she has seemingly zero hang-ups about it. "I love my body," she says. "I think it's perfect." It's not her strength – she benched 315 pounds and squatted 525 pounds in high school, where she played football and became the first woman to start in an Ohio state championship game. Rather, it's her sense of humor, honed in part because she's been teased so much about her weight. Her genre of comedy? What else but self-deprecating fat jokes? "I'm a superheavyweight for a reason," says Mangold, 22. "I don't like to avoid food. I like to embrace it. God gave me this body. He sent it to me. I signed for it."

Mangold has always been the biggest, funniest, most self-assured girl in the room. Now, she's also a contender to win a medal. At trials, she hit a 242-pound snatch and a 320-pound clean-and-jerk for a personal best of 562, which earned her one of only two spots on the women's team: "It's hopefully paving the way for more women to realize they don't have to be crazy-manly and crazy-feminine. They can be a mixture of both." OK, truly admirable, but what's the deal with the belt weightlifters wear? "It keeps your stomach out of the way."

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