Holley Mangold, from Dayton, Ohio, is a US Olympian and tall plus size athlete who lifted her way to earn the hearts and respect of a nation.

why she’s revered ✨

  • Competed at the 2012 Olympics as a true plus size athlete
  • Proves that plus size women have a place anywhere in society

using sports to earn respect

Holley’s national fame came when she competed at the 2012 Olympics as a weightlifter, but long before that she had found a home in sport as a plus woman. She played on the offensive line of her high school football team, and competed for an Ohio state championship. In the past I have heard of girls playing football with guys in high school, but they are few and far between, and it’s evident Holley was held in high regard as she played throughout high school. Her brother Nick Mangold went on to play center for the New York Jets in the NFL.

The highlight of her career was the London Olympics. Holley competed in the super heavyweight class and placed tenth. An impressive showing.

What please me about Holley’s reception is that she is rarely “trolled” online, and through her sporting achievements has earned the respect of all. Even football fanatic men, such as the guys in this post, have nothing but good things to say about her, some even joking she should lift the Barstool Sports guy over her head. She probably could!

inspiring other bigger women

It’s important that role models come in all shapes, sizes, and industries. We do not see many plus size female athletes period, but I know several women who found a home weightlifting, and I myself played volleyball in school and recreationally until recently. Sports can provide an outlet for pent up frustration and importantly, give you confidence. In the case of weightlifting, you’re able to use your God-given height, size, and strength to your advantage.

One of my favorite Holley Mangold quotes came from an ESPN article on how empowered weightlifting makes her, and other women, feel.

Also, it’s quite funny when I’m lifting at a regular gym and people get surprised at what’s happening. I can out-lift most normal guys. But with me, they kind of rationalize it: Oh, she’s a big girl. But I get super-excited when I have a small girl with me. Small females lifting more than men just kills ’em. They’re teeny-tiny. No one ever thinks they’re weightlifters. I just laugh. It’s definitely breaking stereotypes and it’s a lot of fun.

holley’s measurements

  • Holley stands 5’8”
  • When she competed in the Olympics, she was around 350lbs. Since appearing on the Biggest Loser, she is down to about 260lbs.

where to find her