UK's fittest man and daughter of ex-contender named as first official Gladiators

Gladiators, ready! The first two contenders taking part in the BBC’s revival of the hit competition have been named as Fury and Steel.

As revealed on tonight’s The One Show, Fury and Steel are the first competitors in the new line up of superhumans set to pick up their pugil sticks and compete in one of the most iconic gameshows in history.

Gladiators first hit our screens in 1992 and was broadcast on ITV, lasting for eight seasons until 2000, and will now be returning on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

The programme, fronted by Ulrika Jonsson, saw athletic TV fans battle as Contenders against the show’s mighty Gladiators, including Hunter, Wolf and Lightning, in events that tested their speed, skill, stamina and strength.

The first contender, Fury, has been named after her power and passion for competition.

The professional Exeter Chiefs rugby player, whose real name is Jodie Ounsley, is a former England Women’s Rugby Seven’s player, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu British Champion and five times World Coal Carrying champion.

She also won the title of Deaf Sports Personality of The Year in 2020.

As if her accolades weren’t enough, Jodie even has Gladiators in her blood, as her father was a contender on the show in 2008, and she has been training to outdo him ever since.

When she was younger she even dressed up as a Gladiator and practiced the games in her living room.

Fury said: ‘Watching Gladiators growing up I was always in awe of their strength and power and now I am one!  I hope contenders are ready to feel the Fury.’

Meanwhile, the UK’s fittest man, Zack George, who won that title in 2020, will be playing as Steel.

The fitness fanatic has ranked number 26 out of a whopping 126,461 on the global CrossFit leader board, leading to his unbreakable strength earning his new name.

Zack was motivated to help people with their fitness after undertaking his own personal fitness journey as a teenager, and as Steel, he hopes that he can inspire a new, young generation of fans to get into fitness as well. 

Steel said: ‘I was inspired by the Gladiators as a child, but never imagined I’d be physically fit enough to be considered a “superhuman”!

‘I hope a new generation of fans will look up to me as their new strong, unbreakable hero, Steel.’

The news comes after father-son duo Bradley and Barney Walsh were announced as the new hosts, and it appears there’s noone better suited to the job, as it has also been revealed that Gladiators has always been a huge part of the Walsh family.

Donna Walsh, Barney’s mum and Bradley’s wife, was head choreographer for the Gladiator cheerleaders on the original series.

Bradley, and a very young Barney were regular visitors on set, with Barney taking some of his first steps on the iconic arena floor.

Not to be outdone, Bradley followed in his small son’s footsteps when he took part in a celebrities vs jockeys special, in 1997.

Bradley said: ‘Wow! I can’t believe that I’ve been asked to be part of this iconic show.

‘I used to sit backstage, or in the audience, every week watching my wife be part of this juggernaut and now I get to co-host a new version of GLADIATORS!!!

‘Saturday night family entertainment at its best…ARE YOU READY ?!’

Barney added: ‘Gladiators has been a massive part of our family and it’s an honour to be asked to co-host this iconic show.

‘I’m so excited for everyone to see the spectacle, elite athletes and fantastic family entertainment that is GLADIATORS.’

Gladiators returns to BBC soon.

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