American Gladiators

American Gladiators was a game show that ran from 1989 to 1997. This show pitted contestants against their own athletes in  games of strength. The program combined both sport and game show elements. The program was an hour long  and originally broadcast in syndication. Another series was produced in 2008 for NBC. The reason this is significant is that it was a television program exposing audiences to athletic and muscular women. The portrayal was positive and it reached millions of viewers at its peak.

81030-71FrThe women on the program came from numerous athletic backgrounds. Sheri Pendleton was a javelin thrower and hurdler. She also had a brief bodybuilding career. She was known as Blaze on American Gladiators.

gladiatorzapRaye  Hollit  was a bodybuilder who competed between 1987 and 1992. She was widely known in the bodybuilding community, appearing on various fitness magazines. She also enjoyed a small acting career appearing in movies and TV.


Lori Fetrick also had a background in bodybuilding. She would appear on the cover of Muscular Development  and Women’s Physique World.


Shelly Beattie had a track and field background. During high school she competed in cross country and 400 meter sprint. She was deaf from an aspirin overdose at a young age. This did not stop her athletic endeavors. She competed in the MS.Olympia contest multiple times. Shelly Beattie  also had a background in dance choreography. This was useful in her posing routines. Besides being body kinetic, she was very physically powerful. Her maximum bench was 315 pounds.


Jazz was a late comer to the American Gladiators show. Victoria Gay appeared around the 1993 to 1996 seasons. Today she provides voice over work for video games. She was probably the strongest woman gladiator at a height of 5 10” and a weight of 180 pounds. Looking at her stats, she could be a challenge for many men.

          There were of course many more women gladiators. There were international versions that aired in different countries featuring other gladiators.The individuals that are mentioned here are noteworthy to the author. There were many reasons why this was a great show. It was a relic of its time, with all the cheesy 1990s  spectacle. There was tons of merchandise ranging from toys, tee-shirts, and video games.  More than just being entertaining, it holds a special place.  It was a place were a young lad of the 1990s could see pretty women in tight clothing doing impressive athletic feats. The revival did not capture the same feelings, but was still a fun program to watch. This franchise will not disappear anytime soon. It has been rumored that a cartoon series based on the the game show is in development. Although it is a rumor, it is clear there is a huge fan base.

American Gladiators

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