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You have to return to the mid-century heyday of U.S. weightlifting—names like Tommy Kono, Norb Schemansky and Chuck Vinci—to find an athlete with as much star potential as Olympic debutante Holley Mangold.
That statement is both an indication of America's lackluster history in the sport—Team USA hasn't medaled on the women's side in 12 years and the men haven't captured gold since 1960—and an endorsement of Mangold's latent appeal.
To tell Holley's story, we begin with the confirmatory disclaimer that she is in fact the younger sister of Jets All-Pro center Nick Mangold.
But really, that's just the hook.
Mangold also happens to be the first girl in Ohio prep history to play offensive line in a high school football game, and she was also the subject of a 2011 episode of MTV's True Life.
Then there's her weightlifting, a sport the 22-year-old didn't take up until college, but one for which she has demonstrated savant-level proficiency. Once considered a prospect for 2016, Mangold charged past her competition to qualify for London.
Even her coach, Mark Cannella, is at a loss for words. In May, after Mangold made the U.S. team at 75 kg+ (otherwise known as super-heavyweight), Cannella told the Associated Press (via NBCOlympics.com):
Literally a month before this a year ago, I took Holley over..At that time she was at a 220 (kilogram total for her two best lifts). She's moved 35 kilos in one year. So she's gone from a darkhorse to an Olympian in that amount of time. What an amazing thing.
More impressive still, Mangold packages all of this in a magnetic personality that has media outlets—including HBO's Real Sports, which did a dedicated profile of her in June—piqued with excitement.
To review: charismatic weightlifter with famous older brother possesses alluring back story and even more alluring athletic talent.
And although Mangold isn't a medal contender in London, a strong top-10 finish could put her on the radar for 2016 and unleash some of her considerable breakout potential.