Holley Mangold, That’s Our Gal

Dan Murphy June 27, 2012 0
Holley Mangold, That’s Our Gal

This is the third in a series of articles leading up to the start of the 2012 Olympics in London on July 27. Each will highlight an athlete and the aspects of his or her sport that make it an example of great design. Today, Holley Mangold of Team USA, Women’s Weightlifting.

Holley Mangold, Olympic Weightlifting


Holley Mangold, USA Weightlifting

It’s not always easy being comfortable in one’s own skin. Holley Mangold represents great design because she possesses a body capable of both brute strength and extreme athleticism, and the self-confidence to embrace her 5-foot-8, 350-pound frame.


Quote from Holley Mangold


Mangold, who has been featured on MTV’s True Life and HBO’s Real Sports, is a charming athlete who just happens to be able to lift 320 pounds above her head. She’s a likable, funny and fairly typical 22-year-old who is blissfully aware of the size of the body she’s been given, and refreshingly happy with it.

Mangold, whose brother Nick is an All-Pro center with the New York Jets, grew up in Ohio, where she was an offensive lineman for her high school football team. After high school she searched for another sport that suited her large build, and discovered weightlifting in 2008. She’s advanced remarkably quickly in a sport that she is still learning. Mangold’s weightlifting career appears to be on the way up, and her larger than life personality makes her one to watch at the Summer Games in London.


Holley Mangold weightlifting workout


Summer Olympics, Weightlifting Team USA

Olympic weightlifting isn’t just about strength. There’s great design in the technique, which requires a high level of skill, excellent timing, good body control, and uncanny balance.

There are two types of lifts required in Olympic competition–the snatch, and the clean and jerk. The snatch requires the lifter to bring the barbell from the floor to above their head in a series of quick motions. It requires perfect cooperation between the muscles in the legs, torso and arms to allow for the smooth transition of the barbell from the floor to above the lifter.

The clean and jerk has two distinct phases. The lifter “cleans” the barbell by lifting it off of the floor, sliding their body underneath it and resting the bar briefly on their chest. In the second phase of the lift, the barbell is propelled up above the head, the arms are locked and the lifter moves their legs and torso directly under the barbell.


Holley Mangold at London Summer Games


When throwing around a few hundred pounds, wasted motion is inexcusable. And moving that weight even slightly in the wrong direction can cause a momentum shift that results in a dangerously heavy barbell crashing to the floor.

But, if everything is aligned just right, there’s a sort of heavy lifting Nirvana that only the pros can understand.

“If you lift the weight perfectly, with your back tight, pushing off the floor like you’re pushing through the floor with the bar close to your body, bringing your hips in with (unbelievable force), and plant into the weight, controlling it upward, not outward — it creates this beautiful, wonderful, weightless feeling,” Mangold said in an interview with ESPN. “No matter what the weight is on the bar, it will feel weightless if you do it right.”


Clean and Jerk Lift plus Snatch Lift


Video: Holley Mangold, Olympic Weightlifting


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