An Alter graduate wants to win gold at the Olympics in Rio, but first she hopes to conquer NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.”
Holley Mangold will compete against 15 men and women on the reality fitness show’s 15th season, which will begin airing Oct. 8. Singer Ruben Studdard of “American Idol” fame also will compete for the Biggest Loser title and a $250,000 grand prize.
Mangold has not been afraid of a challenge.
The Centerville-bred, world-class weightlifter was the only girl in Ohio to play in a football state title game.
At 346 pounds (60 pounds heavier than anyone else in her weight class), Mangold finished in 10th place in the super heavyweight division at the London Olympic Games.
She is not shy in front of the camera either.
Now a Columbus-area resident, Mangold said she sees her weight as more of a thing from her past than her future.
She was 351 pounds when “The Biggest Loser” started taping.
As an athlete, Mangold, the sister of New York Jets center Nick Mangold, said she is very aware of her size and gets on scales more frequently than most.
“I know this is who I am, but that doesn’t mean I have to be that way forever,” she says on a video made for the show.
Mangold said she wanted to be on “The Biggest Loser” partly for the fans who applauded her for being an inspirational “big girl.” She said she has never been small.
”I felt like I never got a chance to be the in-shape, you know, smaller girl. I never had that chance. This is kind of like my second chance to do that. I wanted to show all of them you can do it,” the 24-year-old said. “I want to show people you can do anything you put your mind to.”
Mangold said she always wanted to be in shape, but didn’t think she could be a good weightlifter and lose weight until after “The Biggest Loser” contacted her to compete on the show.
“I don’t have to wait to retire,” she said. “I think I can be better at a smaller weight.”
Still, she said she is not angry about her size, as it has helped her athletically.
Mangold pulled out of the Pan American Championships and the World University Games to take part in “The Biggest Loser.” Better fitness could mean a gold metal in Rio in 2016, she said.
Mangold said she feels her size negatively impacted her performance at the London games.
“I feel like that was my limiting factor the last run for the Olympics. I was too big for the super heavyweight. I needed to be smaller so I could train harder and do that thing,” she said. “I really need to be more in shape and it can only help my weightlifting.”
Contact this blogger at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com or Twitter.com/DDNSmartMouth