List of Eliminator Obstacles

This is a list of obstacles used in The Eliminator, an event first and used by every version of the television franchise "Gladiators" ever produced. It is always the final event, and the first contestant to finish the race is the winner in most versions.

Balance Beam (US - Original)

The Balance Beam in the original version of American Gladiators was a horizontal beam approximately 6 inches wide between two platforms. It was used in the first two seasons of the original show. During Season 1, three Gladiators (not necessarily of the same gender as the contender), standing on platforms on either side of the course, swung three medicine balls at each contender in an effort to knock them off and into the pit below. Holding onto the medicine balls or the ropes supporting them resulted in 25 points being deducted from the contender's score (5 during the second half of the season). During the second season, a single Gladiator, standing on the platform at the end of the balance beam, would swing a weighted blocking dummy at the contender. Holding onto the dummy or rope or falling into the pit resulted in the loss of 10 points. In both seasons, only one penalty would be assessed, so a contender who held onto a rope, then fell into the pit would only be assessed a single penalty. This obstacle would later be expanded into the event Hit & Run.

Balance Beam (UK - Original, AUS)

The Balance Beam used in the original UK series and both the original and revival versions of Australian Gladiators, was a balance beam approximately 6 inches wide. It began with an inclined portion up, then leveled out to become horizontal. Any contender that placed their hands on the beam or fell off would have to go back to the beginning of the obstacle and start again.

Balance Beam (US/UK - Revival)

A Balance Beam obstacle was used in both US (Season 1 only) and UK revival shows. The beam started out horizontally, then inclined downward. This beam was substantially wider than the beams used in the original versions and there was no penalty for falling off early.

Ball Pit

In Season 7 of the original American Gladiators, the Spinning Cylinders were replaced with a Ball Pit, which was actually two pits filled with thousands of plastic balls. Contenders had to wade through the pits and pass under a rope in the center of each pit. In Season 2 of the revival, the Ball Pit was added as a penalty obstacle for falling off the Hand Bike.

Barrel Roll/Cotton Reel

An obstacle present during the first season of the American and UK revivals, this obstacle, called the Barrel Roll in the US and the Cotton Reel in the UK, requires contenders to hold on to a log that is then rolled down an incline. This obstacle is similar to the Rolling Log obstacle used in the Japanese TV series SASUKE. Both tracks have steeper drop sections to jar contenders loose, but there is no penalty for falling off the log early. The US Barrel Roll includes a rope that Contenders are allowed to hold on to, but the UK Cotton Reel does not, and as a result, no UK contender* to date has been able to successfully complete this obstacle.

fnb|*UK Gladiator Atlas, competing in the Legends Special, was able to successfully complete the cotton reel.

Cargo Net

The Cargo Net was introduced in the second season of the original American Gladiators and has been used in some form in nearly every Eliminator configuration since in all territories. The Cargo net is formed by several vertical ropes and many horizontal ones, tied together to form squares approximately 1 foot per side. Contenders must climb up the cargo net in order to proceed to the next obstacle. The Eliminator used in Series 1 of the UK version had 2 cargo nets, one at the beginning, the other between the spinning cylinder and zipline. The Eliminator configuration used from Series 6 until the end of the original UK run also had a two-sided, free standing Cargo Net near the beginning of the course. Contenders had to jump onto that Cargo Net from a small trampoline.

Corridor Sprint

The Corridor Sprint, present in Seasons 3 and 4 of the original American series was a simple sprint down a walled corridor. Two different obstacles were used to impede contenders' progress through the corridors. In Season 3, a Gladiator perched on a platform hanging above the corridors would drop a giant medicine ball onto the contenders. In Season 4, the contenders had to avoid a set of hanging blocking dummies which moved back and forth in response to two Gladiators stationed at the front of the course.

Commando Lines

The Commando Lines consisted of two tightropes, arranged one over the other, that contenders had to cross. Contenders could place their feet on the lower rope, and hold on to the upper rope with their hands. This obstacle was present during the first season of the original American Gladiators, and returned for the second season of the revival. In the original run, the ropes were horizontal, and falling off resulted in a 25 point penalty. In the revival, the ropes are slanted downward, If contenders fall off, they must climb up a 15 foot ladder placed on the side of the course.

Cone Slalom

The Cone Slalom was used during the first season of the original American Gladiators series. 10 cones were arranged into two slaloms in the following pattern:

The fourth row of cones was removed for the second half of Season 1.

The first contender to complete the Swing for Life obstacle got their choice of lane. The contenders had to negotiate the four cones (out of five in their lane). Which cone they chose as their fourth also decided which door they would crash through in the Wall of Gladiators. Failing to complete the slalom correctly by passing two or more consecutive cones on the same side would result in a penalty of 25 points during the first half of the season or 5 points in the second half.

Finish Blocks

Used in the First Season of the US revival and the UK revival, the final obstacle in the Eliminator takes the form of a wall of foam blocks. The logo of the show is displayed on both sides. The winner is the first contender to break the center line of the blocks. On the other side of the blocks is a short drop (approximately four feet) onto crash pads. In the UK revival, the landing zone for the finish blocks is the same as the landing zone for the zipline, so several contenders have been forced to wait at the top of the Travelator platform until the landing area was clear before finishing the race.

Hand Bike

The Hand Bike was first in Season 2 of the original run of American Gladiators and has been used in all versions of the UK Eliminator. This obstacle required contenders to traverse a pit by use of a specially designed mechanism that works in a similar fashion to the pedals of a bicycle. Contenders had to pedal the hand bike with their arms to cross the pit. Penalties for falling off the hand bike varied widely over the different versions of the show. In seasons where the Head Start format was used, contenders have been assessed time penalties of 7 to 15 seconds depending on gender, territory, and season. During the original UK run, falling off the hand bike resulted in a 10 second penalty, and only male contenders had to use the Hand Bike (female contenders used the Hand Ladder). During the original American run, Male contenders were delayed for 7 seconds, and females for 10 seconds. The Hand Bike was introduced for the male contenders in the second season of the original Australian run, and challengers who fell off were detained for 7 seconds. During Season 2 of the original American version, the Head Start format was not being used, and because the Eliminator was a scored event, contenders who fell off the hand bike were assessed a 10 point penalty. During the US revival Season 1, there was no penalty mentioned for falling off the hand bike, but several contenders appeared to be delayed for 7 or more seconds before being allowed to continue, and in one episode, an official with a stopwatch was seen in the pit beneath the hand bike. In Season 2 of the US revival, no time penalties were present, but contenders who fell off the hand bike had to negotiate the ball pit. In the UK revival, falling off the hand bike results in a 15 second penalty.

fnb | ** No penalty was mentioned for falling off the hand bike, but several contenders appeared to be delayed for 7 or more seconds before being allowed to continue, and in one episode, an official with a stopwatch was seen in the pit beneath the hand bike.

Hand Ladder

The Hand Ladder, also known as Monkey Bars, was used for female contenders in all versions of the UK series and for all challengers in the initial Australian series before the Hand Bike was introduced for male challengers in series 2 and for all challengers in the Australian Revival. Falling off the Hand Ladder resulted in a 10 second penalty in the UK versions. Both Australian versions assessed a penalty of 7 seconds.

High-Low Hurdles

The High-Low Hurdles - which were used in both the UK and Australia during their original runs, and in Australia during the revival - consist of two high hurdles (called "Overs" in the Australian Revival) and two low hurdles (called "Unders"). Contenders must go over the high hurdles and under the low hurdles.


Several versions of the original American Gladiators Eliminator courses used some form of hurdles. Season 2 used two standard track and field hurdles in between the Zipline and Wall of Gladiators, while Seasons 3 and 4 used low walls that contenders had to climb over. No penalties were assessed for knocking over the hurdles in Season 2.

Medicine Ball Gauntlet

In this obstacle, which was present for the first two episodes of Season 3 of the original American series, contenders were greeted by two Gladiators armed with giant medicine balls approximately 6 feet in diameter. The Gladiators were allowed to use the medicine balls to block the contender's progress and were allowed to double team the contenders. The wall that preceeded the gauntlet was often knocked out of alignment due to the strength of the Gladiators. It was replaced by a second 8 foot wall on the third episode of the season.


Both the US and UK revivals incorporate the Pyramid into their Eliminators. Contenders must climb up the Pyramid before using the Zipline to return to the Arena floor.


The Quarterpipe was introduced in the Australian revival series. After completing the Hand Ladder, challengers had to run up a short circular ramp.

Rope Climb/Rope Slide

The Rope Climb was first introduced during Series 2 of the original UK version. Although the walls used in the American versions included ropes, the Rope Climb consisted of a vertical rope suspended from a pole on a platform. There was no surface nearby for contenders to use to help pull themselves up the rope. The UK version used the Rope Climb beginning in Series 2 until the original version ended. All versions of the Australian Gladiators have used the Rope Climb. The UK revival uses a Rope Slide in which contenders use a vertical rope to climb down from one platform to another.

Rope Ladder

The rope ladder was originally introduced as a penalty obstacle for falling off the Spinning Cylinder, but in the Australian Revival, a rope ladder is used as a standard obstacle between the quaterpipe and the zipline. Prior to climbing the Wire Ladder (as it is called on the show) challengers are hooked into a safety harness by spotters. When they reach the top, they must unhook themselves, which has cost several challengers time and possibly the race due to being unable to unhook themselves quickly.

Rope Swing Finish

Unlike the Swing for Life, Rope Swing Finishes marked the finish line of the course. The Rope Swing Finish was first used in the original UK version, and was adopted by both the Australian version and the American version in Season 5 of its original run. The Rope Swing Finish is currently used in the Australian revival and was reintroduced to the American version in Season 2 of its revival. In the Rope Swing Finish, contenders grab a rope and swing through a barrier of some kind, breaking through the barrier marks the end of the race. In the US, UK and original Australian versions, the barrier was a paper wall. In the Australian revival, the barrier is a waterfall. The US revival Rope Swing Finish has a much shorter distance than the others, possibly due to the high level of contender exhaustion at the end of the Eliminator and the fact that if a contender were to fall off the rope prior to breaking the barrier, they could not break it because they fall approximately 10 feet down into the pool after letting go of the rope.

ee Saws/Teeter Totter

First introduced in UK series 6, the see saws required contenders to climb up one side, then run down the other without losing their balance. The Teeter Totter made its debut in the US in the second season of the revival. In the US revival, contenders are not required to remain standing while climbing to the midpoint, and are required to start again should they fall off prior to tilting the Teeter Totter. In the original UK version, contenders had to touch the white section marked on the end of the see saw before getting off.


Slides were used during seasons 5-7 of the original American Gladiators and during the first series of the UK version. Slides were used when the preceeding obstacle was very high and contenders had to be brought down to a lower level quickly.

paghetti Junction

Only present during the fifth series of the UK Gladiators original run, Spaghetti Junction was a tangled web of bungee cords that contenders had to fight through.

pinning Cylinders

The Spinning Cylinders were introduced in Season 3 of the American version and were also used in the original UK and Australian versions under the term "Rolling Beam". The Spinning Cylinders were padded cylinders that spun with varying speeds, and in some configurations, different sections of the cylinder rotated in different directions or didn't rotate at all, forcing contenders to adjust their strides to match. Falling off the spinning cylinders was not penalized, but contenders who fell had to climb up rope ladders in order to continue the course. The 2008 revival of American Gladiators reintroduced the spinning cylinder in Season 2. In the revival, the cylinder is inclined downward and there is only one cylinder that both contenders must use.


In both seasons of the US revival, contenders had to climb a short flight of steep steps after completing the Travelator and prior to completing the finish obstacle. The steps were approximately 1 foot in height and 6 inches deep.


In both the American and UK revivals, a water element was added to the Eliminator. In the first season of both revivals, Contenders must jump feet first off a platform (in America, contenders had to climb onto the platform, in the UK, contenders started from the platform) before swimming underneath a fire lit just above the surface of the water. Plexiglass shields protect contenders from swimming into the fire. The American "fiery surface" consists of 3 pipes with holes that allow fuel to escape and burn. The UK surface consists of two pipes. In the second season of the American revival, the swim was extended, and an additional "fiery surface" section was added to the pool, with a gap between the two sections to allow contenders to surface for air. In addition, contenders began on a floating platform just above the surface of the pool.

wing for Life

The Swing for Life, present during the first season of the original American Gladiators, was a rope swing over a short wall. Contenders grabbed the rope which was on the platform where the Commando Lines ended and had to swing over a shorter wall several feet away before landing on a crash pad. No penalty was assessed for failing to swing over the wall. The Swing for life returned in the American revival, only this time contenders had to swing over a deep pit instead of a wall. To assist the contenders in changing levels (as the platform where they were landing was not covered by a crash pad) the entire rope dropped as the contender swung by means of a winch in the ceiling of the arena. If a contender missed the landing platform, they had to climb back up to a crash pad that was nearly level with, but below the landing platform and attempt their swing from there. On swings from here, the ropes were pulled back up by the winch.


Introduced during UK series 6, the Trapeze obstacle required contenders to swing from one trapeze to another before landing on the far platform.


The Versaclimber was introduced during Season 5 of the original American Gladiators. A product placement, the Versaclimber consisted of a carriage connected to a beam that moved up as contenders moved hand grips and foot pedals up and down. Contenders had to climb up the Versaclimber until they reached the point where two signal lights began flashing. At that point, they were allowed to get off the Versaclimber and continue the course.

Wall of Gladiators

The Wall of Gladiators formed the last obstacle prior to the finish line during the first two seasons of the original American Gladiators. Four paper doors were placed side by side and Gladiators with blocking pads were stationed behind some of the doors. During the first half of Season 1, two Gladiators were placed behind the doors, one per lane, giving both contenders a 50% chance of running into a Gladiator. From the second half of Season 1 until the end of Season 2 when the obstacle was retired, three Gladiators were placed behind the doors, leaving only one door open. This meant that one lane had a 50% chance of running into a Gladiator, while the other had a 100% chance.


The American version of the Eliminator often incorporated 8 foot high walls into the Eliminator. The walls made their debut in Season 3, with one wall there for the entire season, and a second wall (this one with a step at the base) being added partway through. In Season 4, the wall was switched from an opaque wall to a wall covered in transparent plexiglass. All of the walls in the original series were not vertical, but steeply inclined. The first season of the revival used an 8 foot vertical wall at the beginning of the course. All of the walls used had ropes to assist the contenders if they needed them.

Weighted Ball Push

In this obstacle, which was only used during the initial season of American Gladiators, before being replaced by the treadmill in Season 2, the Contenders had to push a large, weighted medicine ball up a ramp (which was at an incline of about 45°) before depositing the ball into a holding tray at the top of the ramp. Failure to get the ball into the tray resulted in a point deduction (25 points during the first half of the season, 5 points during the second).


Like the Cargo Net, the Zipline was introduced in Season 2 of the original American Gladiators and has been used in every Eliminator configuration since in all territories. The Zipline is formed by a carriage placed on top of a rope with one or more pulley wheels. Contenders then hang on to the carriage by means of a handle and ride down to the end of the Zipline. The Zipline was referred to as the Flying Fox on the original Australian series.


* [ Gladiators Zone- Eliminator]

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