From the Olympics to the Biggest Loser? Say it ain’t so Holly

It’s her choice but I’m sad to hear that US heavyweight lifting champ Holly Mangold is heading to the Biggest Loser. (I hate that show.)

“Mangold, who placed 10th in the super heavyweight division at the London Games, said the NBC weight-loss show reached out to her. Now, she’s a contestant on the series’ 15th season beginning Oct. 8.

“They’ve talked about how I was inspiration for big girls,” said Mangold, 23, in a video on the show’s website (full video below). ”I felt like I never got a chance to be the in-shape, 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.”

Her starting weight is 351 pounds. She weighed in at 346 pounds at the 2012 Olympics, 60 pounds heavier than anybody else in her weight class, which is set at 165 pounds and over. “I feel like that was my limiting factor the last run for the Olympics is I was too big for the super heavyweight,” said Mangold, the sister of New York Jets all-pro center Nick Mangold who played high school football. “I needed to be smaller so I could train harder.”

Read more here.

Obviously it’s Holly’s body and her choice but I will note that her 300 + lb pro football playing brother hasn’t signed up. I also hope they take a sports nutrition approach (Holly is an Olympic athlete, after all) rather than your standard calorie restricted diet approach. A girl can dream, right?

But I’m not hopeful.





21 thoughts on “From the Olympics to the Biggest Loser? Say it ain’t so Holly

  1. I cannot put into words how much this saddens me. I realize it’s her body and her choice, but I loved her attitude leading up to the ’12 Olympics. I cheered her on and rooted for her because I loved that twinkle in her eye and her ability to lift massive amounts of weight and her effervescent personality. I am with you in hoping they do a sports nutrition program rather than the typical one.

      1. Sam, I’ve read that series of interviews. I was angry, appalled, and so disappointed to hear that it was considered acceptable for one human being to treat another human being in that manner. It’s definitely an eye-opening interview series.

  2. This is so sad…I am wondering whether she is doing this for money rather than for any concern about fitness. I know that Sarah Robles, the current Pan Am and US champ, is struggling to make ends meet. Women’s weightlifting simply doesn’t attract the endorsement deals that other women’s Olympic sports do. I suspect that, because of her conditioning, she will completely smoke her competition. But it’s ultimately sad no matter the reason.

    1. That was my speculation in another group of which I am part. I read articles about Mangold that talked about how she was basically living in the laundry room of her coach’s house.

  3. Mostly out of curiosity, I watched the last season of the Biggest Loser. The woman who won it, Danni, actually did gain a far amount of muscle and at one point Jillian Michaels mentioned that it was more challenging to come up with workouts for Danni because she was fit enough to be her “workout buddy” rather than a traditional contestant. This actually heightened the drama for the show for me, because it made me really want Danni to win, because she was clearly becoming far more athletic than the other contestants, but not always losing numerically the most weight. And there were a bunch of times where if she wasn’t shielded from the challenges that she would have been eliminated.

    I can only hope, like you mentioned that they take an approach with Holly that will not deplete her muscular strength, but I can’t see how they can do that when weight is their only metric. If they measured results in bodyfat percentage, or something similar then it might be possible, but I can’t see how someone as strong as Holly can win the Biggest Loser without losing a huge amount of the muscular strength she needs for her sport. I suppose the show’s marketing scored a win with this one, though, because now I’m really tempted to watch the next season to see how this works out.

  4. If she has other things she wants to pursue athletically and she would perform better in those pursuits with a leaner body, that’s her choice. It’s just sad that she would choose the Biggest Loser because (based on what I’ve read — I haven’t checked out those interviews yet but thanks) it’s such an abusive environment. The woman deserves respect. I really do hope she gets it on the show and they don’t adopt their usual shaming techniques. It sounds just appalling.

    1. No, she’s said she wants to keep lifting and make it to the Olympics as a weight lifter. She’ll just be in another weight category. That’s all. And there is now way she’ll be as strong. That’s why they have weight categories.

      1. I doubt she’s aiming for a different weight category. In olympic lifting, female super heavyweights are 165 lbs and up. She is bigger than other women in her class who lifted more than her at the Olympics. At least, I’m hoping she would still be in the SHW, because I think to go down a weight class she would have to lose a ton of muscle. She may be choosing to lose weight to help her move better under the bar or something? But there are much better ways to go about that than the Biggest Loser, of course!

      2. Yes, it will be interesting to see someone finish the show at a weight that might still count as overweight or obese and see how they handle that…

    2. This was my concern as well — not that she wants to lose weight, but that she’s buying into (and tacitly endorsing) a show that normalizes and promotes bullying and abusing people into losing weight.

  5. How sad.

    I had read before that she wanted to lose weight; she was worried about it possibly being bad for her in the long term to be so heavy.

    I have no problem with that — it’s her body, and her life — but I’m worried that The Biggest Loser might hurt her more than it would help. What they shoot for is rapid, extreme weight loss, not necessarily sustainable or healthy weight loss.

    Still, an experienced athlete like Holley Mangold is probably better able to know when a trainer is asking her to do something dangerous, and better able to say, “No, THIS is what I want, are you going to help me or do I have to find another trainer?”

    Whatever she does, I wish her the best. I like her a lot.

    1. Yeah, I hope the fact that she is actually an Olympic athlete will inform the way the show treats her (I suspect neither her nor her coach will put up with anything harmful, but who knows what NBC has in the contract?) She’s an inspiration for me, so I hope this helps her achieve her goals…

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