He said, No, its a mans sport, and that drove me crazy, she said. I cried for two days and he changed his mind.
Boxing made me feel accepted; no asked me, Why you hitting the bag like a boy? Instead of putting my energy into something destructive, boxing helped me control my anger.
At Berston Gym, and in the home of her coach Jason Crutchfield and his family, she stays out of the trouble that plagues her neighborhood.
Ive lost so many friends. Mostly gun violence, she said. Every summer when I go to a boxing tournament, I feel bad because I cant go to their funerals. Another friend died since Ive been away. I know he got shot.
Shes been receiving encouraging messages from her older brother, who is in prison until 2013, she said.
When I was little he used to punch me whenever I cried, she said.
And her father has called to motivate her.
He said, Remember when we went to the store to get your bicycle and the girl took your bicycle but you were too little to fight her?
Im like, No.
And he said, Well, now youre big enough to beat her so go get your bicycle. Sometimes he uses the hamburger one the girl who took my hamburger at McDonalds. They are made-up stories. Dont nobody take nothing from me!
Her USA Boxing cornerwoman, Gloria Peek, has been coaching boxers for 34 years, since before there were women in the sport.
You coach them as men and women they are boxers, Peek said. Claressa is still a baby in the sport. I see her as a throwback to those days when our fighters had nothing but dog in them.
Mangolds idol was Brett Favre.
Most girls have the princess bedroom but my whole room was Green Bay Packers the bedspread, the cheese head, the Brett poster, she said. Now I like telling people Brett had his hands under my brothers butt.
Like her big brother, she played football for Archbishop Alter High School in Dayton, Ohio. She was 5-8 and weighed more than 300 pounds. Football actually helped her fit in.
You have to put up with the usual hazing, but what I got out of it was 40 brothers, she said. God help anyone who would tease me around the team. You form a bond. You wonder why old men reminisce. When I go back, I always call the boys.
The girls wouldnt dare say anything because they knew I could kill them.
Mangold, who is hilarious, was voted onto her schools homecoming court.
I didnt have the usual high school experience most large women have, that makes them insecure or unhappy, she said. I had lots of friends.
She fell out of love with football when she realized it was a dead end. She tried weightlifting and her athleticism and explosiveness enabled her to excel quickly. Her personal best is a combined 562.2 pounds in the snatch and clean and jerk.
Mangold, 22, now lives in the laundry room of her training partner and works part-time at a barbecue joint. Last year, she starred in an MTV documentary Im the Big Girl. She wants to tell people not to get defeated by body image.
I want to convey be happy with yourself, she said. I dont think anyone should be my size. Its weird because my sister is a 5-6 marathoner.
As for weightlifting, watch and see the beauty of it.
We dont need to sell it up and make it ladylike, she said. Im not going to jump onto the platform in a bikini. Nobody would want to see that.
For Kayla Harrison, winning the first Olympic gold medal in judo for the United States was validation of her plan to reinvent herself.
I know theres nothing in my life that will be harder than being a victim of sexual abuse, she said. And I want little girls and boys to know its not OK, but it is OK to talk about it.
Harrison said she was abused and brainwashed by her first judo coach until she was 16.
I was really young, she said. I thought my world revolved around him. He said he loved me and this was our secret. My whole life was a lie, and during those years I was an emotional wreck.
The coach was a friend of the family. When she told her mother, he was arrested and is currently serving a 10-year sentence.
Harrisons mom sent her to Boston to live and train with coach Jimmy Pedro and his father.
She said the Penn State scandal has shown that sexual abuse is a huge taboo. She wants to increase awareness and dialogue. She wants sport governing bodies to provide guidance on coach-athlete relationships.
Today, shes engaged to a firefighter a career she plans to pursue and living in Marblehead, Mass.
I look back and feel sad for that girl, who didnt know how to escape, she said. Judo gave me a path to follow.