First Gladiators revealed as UK’s Fittest Man and martial arts champion

Virgin Radio

4 May 2023, 06:31

(L-R) Jodie Ounsley, the Gladiators logo,  Zack George

Credit: BBC

The first Gladiators have been unveiled ahead of the revival of the iconic sports competition. 

As revealed on The One Show on Wednesday (3rd May), the Gladiators reboot has cast its first superhumans set to compete against the Contenders in hardcore challenges of their strength and agility. 

Jodie Ounsley, who will go by the name of Fury, is a professional Exeter Chiefs rugby player, and is a former England Women’s Rugby Sevens star. Not only that, but Jodie is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu British champion, and a five-time World Coal Carrying champ to boot! 

The powerful sporting star also won the title of Deaf Sports Personality of The Year in 2020, and even has a family connection to Gladiators. 

Her father was a Contender on the show back in 2008, and speaking about her new Gladiator status, Jodie 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.”

Up next is Steel, otherwise known as Zack George, who is a UK CrossFit star and won the title of UK’s Fittest Man in 2020. 

He’s ranked 26 on the global CrossFit leaderboard, and wants to use his personal journey and love of fitness to inspire a younger generation of fans to get involved too. 

Zack shared: “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 11-part reboot of Gladiators will begin filming later this month at the Utilita Arena in Sheffield and is expected to  follow the same format as the original, with Contenders battling the superhuman Gladiators before competing at the end of each show in fan-favourite, The Eliminator.

The original Saturday night show ran on ITV from 1992 to 1996, and then from 1999 to 2000, and was hosted by Ulrika Jonsson and footballer John Fashanu. At its peak, it drew a huge 14 million viewers and, over eight seasons, the likes of Wolf and Jet became household names.

Speaking of the new faces of Gladiators, father and son duo Bradley and Barney Walsh are set to be the hosts of the competition. 

The BBC have yet to confirm an air date for the new Gladiators series, but audiences can get tickets to see the show and all its mayhem at the Sheffield Utilita Arena as it continues filming into June.