The prize money drew worldwide heptathlete Peggy Odita to “American Gladiators.” The accomplished athlete was at Stanford on a sports scholarship when she first heard of A.G. Defeating a Gladiator would be a breeze, she thought. The Season 5 Grand Champion said it was way tougher than she expected.
“The Gladiators didn’t play,” she said. “The games were extremely physical, and it was a good day when someone didn’t have to go to the hospital.” Next, Odita starred in Gladiators 2000, a kid show spin-off, presiding as narrator and referee. Post-Gladiators, Odita devotes her time to her family and two children.
Call him a lowly Contender, but Marc Ortega's Season 3 "American Gladiators" Grand Champion win in 1992 was legendary. Some say it was the most definitive, the most iconic, American Gladiator moment ever. Hardcore AG fans still rave about it.
At the end of the race, Ortega threw his body over the line for a photo finish in the Eliminator event, narrowly defeating champion Joseph "Bam Bam" Mauro. Ortega, who was a chiropractic student when he tried out for the show, was chosen as one of 48 contestants from a pool of 10,000 athletes. Since then, Ortega has left the limelight behind him.
With his handsome good looks and ability to go from zero to a hundred, Galen "Turbo" Tomlinson was the stuff producers dream of. Tomlinson appeared on the show from 1990-1996, then again from 1996-1998. When he tried out for the show, the young hopeful had never even seen an episode, but he didn't let that stop him.
Now, Tomlinson lives in Southern California, where he is the head coach and director of the Coast North County Volleyball Club. No one is as well-versed in the sport as him, with two decades teaching under his belt. His niece Carli went on to play professionally in Italy.
At 6'3," Shirley Eson-Korito's height shoots up to the stars. Sky is the tallest and strongest female Gladiator and a daunting opponent. She joined the show with the American Gladiators Live Tour and served as Sky until the final season.
She got into modeling and bodybuilding as a young teen and placed well in several championships, notably, World Gym Classic in 1990. Part of her weight training regimen included long-distance cycling. In 2016, Eson-Korito went back to competitive bodybuilding. These days, she and her husband own a pet care facility in Florida.
During the bulk of the 90s, Warrior was a U.K. original Gladiator. His mighty presence on six series of Gladiators was daunting. Quite literally. He weighed 291 pounds, the heaviest of any competitor. He was the toughest in Tilt and Powerball. Rugby was Michael Ahearne's sport of choice.
It led to bodybuilding and winning more than 15 titles. The former bodybuilder and night club bouncer hit a legal snag in 1997. Convicted of money laundering, he spent some time in the slammer. After an appeal shortened his sentence, he opened a gym and tried his hand at an acting career.