Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

The Oldest Gladiator


I’d bet good money that most of you didn’t watch American Gladiators growing up, and that you’re not watching the reinvented American Gladiators now. That’s okay; I completely understand. The show is certainly not for everyone. It’s full of cheese and over-the-top personalities, gouts of fire and huge foam weapons.

Okay, so maybe it is for everyone!

Nowadays, I’m watching AG for different reasons. Oh sure, the crazy games are still bunches of fun. But now that I’ve embarked on the martial arts path, I have so much more appreciation for the athletes. Have you seen the Gladiators they must “fight”? Those men and women are scary! And the games are hard. Wicked hard. If you’ve ever pushed your body to its limit and then pushed beyond it, you will recognize that look in the competitors’ eyes as they struggle with the Eliminator.

Not familiar with the Eliminator? Here’s what you’ve got (from Wikipedia):

  • Climb an 8-foot wall using a rope.
  • Jump into a pool from the 8-foot wall and swim 20 feet beneath a flaming surface
  • Climb 30-foot cargo net
  • Barrel Roll
  • Handbike
  • Downhill balance beam.
  • Ascend the Pyramid
  • Ride down the zip line
  • Travelator (Treadmill)
  • Climb up stairs and crash through a wall for finish

Toni Oppliger made it through the Eliminator tonight. She’s a 45-year-old single mother, and the oldest competitor this season. Toni kicks ass. She beat the other contestant, but her time didn’t qualify her for the finals. You know what? It doesn’t even matter. Toni said she wants to be an inspiration to other women — 20, 30, 40, 50, or any age. She definitely inspires me.

Toni Oppliger on American Gladiators

About the author

Jenn Reese


By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

Newsletter Signup