Meet the 25st Olympic weightlifter who dreamed of being a gymnast but says her body 'had a different plan'
U.S. weightlifting star Holley Mangold, 22, dreamed of competing at Games – but as a gymnast
Ohio-born Holley was the only girl in school American football team, aged 11
'There's nothing cooler than someone saying, “pick that up”, and you can'Superheavyweight lifter prepares pre-contest by turning cartwheels
17:41 GMT, 16 July 2012
An Olympic weightlifter has told how her dream of competing at the Games has finally come true – but not in the way she originally hoped it would.
Holley Mangold harboured a dream as a child that she would one day make it to the Olympics.
But the 22-year-old athlete, who this year will compete as part of the United States' weightlifting team, says she always thought her Olympic sport would be gymnastics – until her body got in the way.
Olympic dream: Holley, who weighs 25 stone, was the only girl to play on her school American football team as a child
Dreaming big: Holley Mangold always hoped to compete as a gymnast at the Olympics but says her body – she weighs 25st – 'had a different plan'
Her 25st frame put paid to her long-held ambition to spin round the asymmetric bars or somersault across the floor to music.
Instead, she found that she became naturally adept at sports that demanded a stronger physique.
At the age of 11 she made it onto the American football team at her local school in the Ohio town of Dayton where she was born and raised.
Job satisfaction: 'There's nothing cooler than someone saying “pick that up” and you know how to do it'
After excelling in the robust sport – she was the first female non-kicker to play in an Ohio Division III high-school football game – she was encouraged to try her hand at weightlifting – and a new obsession was born.
Now Holley is a member of the 2012 US Olympic Team as a superheavyweight Olympic weight lifter – and is hoping to better her personal record of lifting a staggering 562.2lbs in the combined snatch clean-and-jerk – 212.2lbs more than her 350lbs weight.
Talking of her appearance at the Olympics this year, Holley said her body decided what her path would be – but that all has worked out in the end.
'Kinda thought it was going to be gymnastics,' she told the Observer. 'My body had a different plan,'
But despite the enforced change of direction, Holley, who turns cartwheels before she competes to prepare for her performance, has wholeheartedly embraced her talent for hefting huge weights.
'There's nothing cooler than someone saying “Pick that up”, and you know how to do it.'
HEAVYWEIGHT: AN INTERVIEW WITH HOLLEY MANGOLD