List of American Gladiators events
Throughout its runs, the TV series "
American Gladiators" had a variety of events in which its contenders competed.
In the events leading up to The Eliminator, the contenders competed more directly against the Gladiators to score points than they did against each other. The Eliminator was the only time that the contenders were in direct standing against each other to determine the show's winner.
The number of events, including the Eliminator, has varied from season to season. Its first season had six events; most other seasons of the original run had seven events, though seasons four and five added an eighth "Crunch Time" event before the Eliminator. The 2008 revival used five events in the preliminary rounds, and six in the semifinals and Grand Finale of Season 1, and expanded to seven events beginning with the third preliminary round of Season 2.
During the first half of the show's first season, points were awarded in multiples of five, with 100 points usually the maximum in each event. Since the second half of the first season, points have been given on a one-point scale.
Assault (1989-1996, 2008-)
Mike Adamlecalled Assault "the game of hit or be hit." The contender had 60 seconds to make it through a course that spanned the entire arena floor, firing off weapons to hit a target located near a Gladiator, while avoiding high-speed tennis balls fired at them by the Gladiator through a cannon. The weapons were located in safe zones that offered some protection while aiming and firing the weapon, but the safe zones were such that the contender had to expose some part of their body while aiming and firing and thus could be hit.
In the first half of season one, the contender had four weapons to fire. In order, they were an air powered rocket launcher, an air-powered ball cannon, a special FX pistol that fired a glitter shot, and two hand grenades filled with glitter that exploded on impact. The target was located to the Gladiator's side. If a contender fired all the weapons without hitting the target or being hit, he or she could take cover in the last safe zone until time expired and earn 30 points for a draw if he or she was not hit in the intervening time (Several contenders were hit by sharp-shooting Gladiators while taking cover in the third safe zone). Hitting the target's outer rim earned 60 points (later 75), and a bull's-eye hit earned 100. When hit, a hidden pyrotechnic charge exploded at the base of the Gladiator's platform, releasing a flurry of dirt and rocks, giving the appearance of a landmine exploding, plus some red/white strobelights.
For the second half of season one and continuing on, the course was redesigned to look more modern, a fifth safe zone was added at the beginning of the course with a crossbow, and the safe zones had numbers clearly visible on them. Also, the target was moved to above the Gladiator's head, and a finish line was added at the end of the course, with the contender having to cross it within the allotted time to earn credit for a draw. In some seasons the contender was required to hit a button at the finish line to earn the draw. Until the end of season two, earning the draw gave the contender four points. The target hit points were 7 for the outer rim, and 10 for the bull's eye. Here, due to the redesign, the "landmine" was redone with pyrotechnic reports (explosions) and a lot of smoke, somewhat of a precursor to a later smoke cannon.
Starting in season three, 10 points were awarded for hitting any portion of the target; if the contestant ran out of time or was hit, one point was given for each weapon the contender managed to fire; a bonus point was awarded for completing the course but failing to hit the target (for a total of 6 points).
The starting position for the Assault course changed over the course of the series, changing the likelihood of contenders being hit before reaching the first safe zone. In the first half of season 1, a player would start at the first safe zone. From the second half of season 1 until season 7, a contender would start on the stair entrance furthest from the first safe zone (during the second half of season 1, this was changed to the closest steps in some episodes for unexplained reasons). In season 7, due to the changed look of the arena, the furthest staircase was moved near the center of the arena, giving the gladiator less time to hit a contender before they were able to reach the first safe zone). Similarly, in the 2008 revival, the contender enters from the center of the arena, which is usually in the area of the Pyramid.
The safe zones were located on opposite ends of the floor such that the contender had to enter the Gladiator's unobstructed line of fire to get to each zone. The contender did have a very short wall for protection in traveling from the last safe zone to the finish line, as he or she was already very close to the Gladiator's cannon by this point.
In the 2008 revival, small barriers were added between some stations that provided extra cover to the contenders.
In the first season of the 2008 revival, contenders began the event with a ball in hand, which they carried to the first safe zone to load into a slingshot and fire. The second safe zone featured a cannon in a turret that contenders had to rotate, load, and fire. At the third safe zone, instead of having a weapon to fire, contenders dug through a sandbox for an arrow; finding the arrow earned a point. Contenders could then activate a smoke screen for protection in getting to the fourth safe zone, where they loaded the arrow into a crossbow, and fire. There was a fifth station, but no first-season contestant completed it.
For the second season of the revival, all weapons except the slingshot are pre-loaded and the turret no longer has to be rotated into position. The third safe zone still features a sandbox but the arrow search was replaced with a Bazooka for the contender to fire. The fifth zone was revealed to have three balls that the contender would throw at the target, all three balls must be thrown for the contender to complete the safe zone.
In both seasons of the revival, contenders earn 10 points for hitting any part of the target, or one point for each safe zone successfully completed. In addition, the gladiator is launched backwards into the water, and two massive pyrotechnic charges go off should the contender hit the target. In addition, the Gladiator could also be launched if the contender pressed the button located at the end of the course.
Assault Course configurations over the years:
fnb|*"Weapon must be loaded by Contender prior to being fired."
fnb|^"The ball rifle was referred to as a pistol, but it is not a pistol, it is a rifle."
fnb|&"In Season 3,the rifle was tipped with a rocket instead of a ball, it is otherwise the same as 1b."
fnb|@"Same as 1b."
fnb|%"Although referred to as an arrow, the arrow is in fact a rocket."
Breakthrough & Conquer (1989-1996)
Breakthrough & Conquer was a combination of
American footballand freestyle wrestling. The event was divided into two parts. The first consisted of the football part, where the contender had to try and score a touchdown on the Gladiator without getting tackled. After this, they stepped inside a circular wrestling ring, with another Gladiator waiting. If the contender could wrestle any part of the Gladiator's body out of the ring within 10 seconds, they would win. During season 4 contenders had 15 seconds rather than 10 in the conquer ring.
In the first half of season one, 30 (later 40) points were given for each successful part, and a contender earned bonus points if they were successful at both parts for a total of 100 points. From that point forward, 5 points were given for each successful portion of the event (although 3 were given during a point in season three).
In some of the first half of Season 1, the women did not play Breakthrough & Conquer in the preliminary round for reasons unexplained. They played a game called Swingshot, but only the results were given with no footage ever shown. It is likely that this Swingshot was not the same as the event that debuted in Season 3, as it was announced as a new event that season.
For one portion of the first half semifinals in Season 1 the Conquer ring was raised off the arena floor slightly with a blue mat surrounding it; the ring was lowered after Gladiator Sunny severely injured her knee after being pulled out of it and hitting the floor awkwardly.
In Season 2, Breakthrough & Conquer was only played during the quarterfinal round and final round in the first half of the season, replacing Human Cannonball, and during the quarterfinal round in the second half of the season, replacing the Joust.
Human Cannonball (1989-1990 [through first half of season two] , 1992-93)
The object of this game was simple: swing on a rope from an elevated platform and try to knock a Gladiator off a podium some distance away.
Originally, the contenders were allowed to swing with their legs fully extended and make contact with the Gladiator using their feet, almost a surefire technique for the contenders to be victorious. However, this technique resulted in Malibu getting injured, and as a result, after the quarterfinal round in season one, contenders were required to stay in a tuck position throughout their swing, i.e., knees bent and feet tucked underneath their body.
Originally, the contender was given three swings against three different Gladiators. If they managed to go three for three against them, they would receive a bonus to bring their score to an even 10 (3 points for each successful swing) or 100 (30 points for each swing). Later, two Gladiators competed, and each swing was worth 5 points.
Human Cannonball was not played between the second half of Season 2 (Hang Tough replaced it in the rotation) and the end of Season 3. It returned for one more year in Season 4 before it was dropped for good in Season 5 for safety reasons.
Joust (1989-1996, 2008-)
The Joust saw the contender and Gladiator face off against each other with
In the first half of season one, the event was conducted on a narrow bridge-type apparatus for 30 seconds. The object was to either knock the opponent off the platform or push them back towards a line on their side. Crossing that line would end the event, and in the case of the men's competition, would result in a trap door opening beneath them and dropping the loser to the floor. Neither player could drop their stick or take their hand off it, or they would be disqualified. Moreover, neither player could actively grab their opponent's stick, or they would also be disqualified.
The contender earned a minimum of 30 points for just participating in the event, with 75 being awarded for a draw and 100 for a win. Points could also be earned depending on how long the contender stayed on the platform (starting at 30, as noted, and increasing by 5 for every 5 seconds they managed to stay on).
This concept (except for the trap door and scoring) would later be used for the UK Gladiators' game "Suspension Bridge".
Afterwards, each player stood on a separate platform, with the object now only to knock the opponent off. 10 points were awarded for a victory, 5 points for a draw. The previous penalties for dropping one's own or grabbing the opponent's pugil stick remained in effect, and additional disqualification penalties were added for crossing onto the opponent's platform, or if the contender or Gladiator was determined not to have put up a fight. Beginning in Season two, a player who lost their helmet was disqualified.
For the 2008 revival, the rules remained the same; however, the platforms are now located above the pool instead of a crash pad. Also, in the 2008 revival, a gladiator was disqualified (and the contender automatically given the full ten points) when the gladiator put both knees on her own platform simultaneously.
Powerball (1989-1996, 2008-)
The game of Powerball has been one of the signature events of American Gladiators in both runs of the series.
The two contenders competed in a 45 second game against three Gladiators. Each contender had their own colored scoring balls which were in two separate bins, and had to try and place them into one of five scoring cylinders while avoiding the Gladiators. The rims of the scoring cylinders were sized such that the contenders generally had to
slam dunkthe ball into the cylinders to score; a ball thrown from a distance and getting into a scoring cylinder was a legal goal, but scoring in this manner was very difficult and thus rarely occurred. A contender was required to forfeit the ball in hand and pick up a new ball if, before scoring a goal, he or she was tackled to the floor or out of bounds by a Gladiator, or dropped the ball onto the floor.
In the first half of season one, the event was conducted on a half-circle shaped field, with two buckets (one for each player) located in the center and the scoring cylinders on the edge of the half-circle. 15 points were awarded for each score in this format. From the second half of season one onward, the event was conducted on a larger, rectangular playing field with two ball buckets, each located in a semi-circle shaped safe zone on either end of the field. Contenders were required to alternate which end of the field they took their scoring balls from. The scoring cylinders were spread out more, and one was placed in the center of the playing field, with goals scored there worth more points. The amount of points varied from 1-3 for outer cylinder goals and 2-5 for center cylinder goals, depending on the season and the round of play.
For the first season the scoring cylinders were basic stand-up cylinders; for the following seasons a design with a rounded bottom was used (perhaps to prevent the cylinders from falling down or breaking, the latter of which happened at least twice during the second half of season one when the weight of contender and Gladiator crashing onto it was enough to break the plastic the cylinder was made of).
One standing Powerball rule was that the Gladiators could not be excessively rough with the contenders (tackling them hard, hitting above the shoulders, etc.). Violators of this rule were immediately removed from the game, and the event would resume with the remaining Gladiators. In addition, a warning would be issued should the Gladiator move into one of the contender safe zones. During the second half of Season 1, all tackling was prohibited by Gladiators. Tackling was defined as wrapping up the contender and taking them down, pushing a contender down was legal. Initially, this was penalized by awarding a score to the contender, but later in the season, Gladiators were disqualified for tackling. This led to a round where two Gladiators were disqualified and only a single Gladiator was left to defend against both contenders.
A variant of this game,
Super Powerball, was played in Season 4 only. Played only as the seventh game (Crunch Time), it featured three cylinders placed in a line in the middle of the Powerball field and two Gladiators. Three points were given for outer cylinder goals, and five for a center cylinder goal.
For the 2008 revival, players were given 60 seconds against the Gladiators, with the 4 outer cylinders worth 2 points and the center cylinder worth 3 points. The rims of the scoring cylinders were also widened considerably, thus making it easier for contenders to throw the balls into the cylinders from a distance, and forcing the Gladiators to not only stop the contender, but also to prevent the contender from being able to shoot the ball into the goal (although the Gladiators are allowed to deflect such shots as well). The sidelines of the playing field were removed and replaced with a padded retaining wall, removing the Gladiators' "out of bounds" option and requiring them to either tackle the contenders to the floor or strip the ball from their hands. For the second season of the revival, the rims of the scoring cylinders were downsized to prevent balls from being thrown in from a distance, and the points were reduced from 2/3 points to 1/2 points.
The Wall (1990 [second half of season one] - 1996, 2008-)
A convert|32|ft|m|sing=on rock-climbing wall (extended to convert|40|ft|m in the 2008 revival, and convert|50|ft|m when the revival was moved to the Los Angeles Sports Arena) stood in front of the contenders in this event. The object was to make it to the top without being pulled off by a trailing Gladiator or before time expired. The time limit was one minute (originally two minutes).
Except during Seasons 5-7, contenders have a head start on the Gladiators:
* Season 1b-2: 15 seconds for men, 10 seconds for women
* Season 3-4: 10 seconds
* 2008 Revival: 7 seconds
From season five until season seven, no head start was given, but the wall was widened and divided into five partitions, with each Gladiator having to cross over to their contender's partition to pull them off. The contender, in an attempt to escape the Gladiator, can also cross over to the center partition to be able to reach the top of The Wall, making it tougher for the Gladiators, who would then have to cross two partitions.
10 points were given for the first contender to ascend The Wall, with 5 given for the second place contender if both made it (but if a Gladiator pulls one contender off, and then another, the Gladiator is disqualified, and the 2nd contender pulled off receives the points). During the first two seasons (and certain special episodes of season four as to determine seeding because of elimination rules), the higher climber was given 5 points if both were pulled off.
For the 2008 revival, 5 points are awarded for reaching the top in second place or if a contender can survive the entire 60 seconds without being pulled off. Additionally, contenders pulled off the wall splash down into the pool instead of simply dangling from their safety harnesses. The wall was convert|40|ft|m high in Season 1. Season 2 saw the wall heightened to convert|50|ft|m.
Atlasphere (1990-1994, 2008-)
Atlasphere pitted the contenders against two Gladiators for 60 seconds, all rolling around the entire arena floor in metal cage-like spheres, dubbed "Atlaspheres." The object of the event was to avoid the Gladiators while trying to roll the sphere into one of four scoring pods spaced out across the arena floor. Originally, the contender had to settle in the scoring pods to score. This combined with the original shape of the scoring pods resulted in at least one contender becoming stuck in a scoring pod, unable to get out. As a result, after its first season, the shape of the pods was changed and a black actuator was placed in the center of the pod, with the contender only having to roll over it completely to score. Once done, the pod would emit two columns of smoky fog and start a ring of lights to glow in a pattern to indicate the score.
In season 2, contenders began on the floor at either end of the arena, while the Gladiators began the event inside one of the scoring pods. In seasons 3 and 4, contenders and Gladiators began the event in the four corners of the arena, contenders on one end, Gladiators on the other, on elevated ramps. In season 5, the contenders and Gladiators still started in the corners of the arena, but the ramps were no longer used.
1, 2, or 3 points were awarded for each score.
When the 2008 revival was moved to the
Los Angeles Sports Arena, the game was brought back, as one of the "new" games for the revival's second season. It is currently being referred to as Altrasphere on the NBC website, but the event was referred to as "Atlasphere" on air, proving the NBC website to be in error.
Pod shape, color and effects over the years: :Season 2-Color:Red, white, and blueSmoke cannons:1 very powerful cannon in centre, had an almost unnoticable "idle flume" during non-score times.Shape:Inclined in,then flat drop to a recessed centre-This contributed to the fact that a lot of contenders,and somtimes Gladiators,got stuck in the pod, unable to get out.Score Criteria:Contender had to settle Atlasphere in pod for one second, then smoke would fire.
:Season 3-Color:Violet and whiteEffects:Two powerful smoke cannons,had easily noticable "idle flumes",as they often made the recessed area foggy, and a ring of 8 white lights that glowed in a pattern for the score.Shape:Inclined in,with a gentle round into recessed centre that had a black actuator button.Score Criteria:Contender must go cleanly over black centre actuator to score.
:Season 4-Color:Violet and whiteEffects:Two far-less powerful smoke cannons,probably equal to Season 3 "idle-flumes"+ ring of lightsShape:Incline in, angular down slope to recssed centre,with a bigger silver actuator with smoke cannons right next to it.Score Criteria:Had to hit centre actuator cleanly. Sound,lights,and smoke confirmed the score. No "Idle flumes".
:Season 5-Color:White and VioletOtherwise, the pods are the same as Season 4.
:Revival Season 2-Color:RedEffects:One centre smoke cannon, medium power.Shape:Inclined into, but centre no longer is recessed, and there is no actuator.Score criteria:Must go cleanly over centre top of pod, Smoke confirms score. No "idle flumes".
Hang Tough (1990-1996, 2008-)
The contender had 60 seconds to negotiate a grid of gymnastics rings to get to a platform on the other side of the course, while trying to avoid a Gladiator who was swinging against them.
Two standing rules were in place: the Gladiator could not hit the contestant above the shoulders or use their uniform to pull them off, or they would be disqualified. The contender and the Gladiator also had to make an effort to go forward and couldn't stay in one place for longer than 10 seconds unless in contact with each other, or else "they" would be disqualified.
If a contender managed to swing all the way to the opposite platform, they earned 10 points (they must be on the platform without holding any rings, or it doesn't count). 5 points could be earned for a draw or a disqualification of the Gladiator (a delayed penalty; the referee would announce it after the game, or either a referee or game judge would raise his hand, ice hockey-style, to announce a delayed penalty, which Mike Adamle would announce during the game). During season two, if the contender made it to a red set of rings in front of the Gladiator's platform and earned a draw, 7 points were awarded. Furthermore, if a player would have made it to the opposite platform but was impeded by a cameraman (which happened in at least one situation), the official would award an automatic win on account of cameraman's interference.
The revival uses similar rules, but losers splash into the water instead of a crash pad. The first season of the revival featured a very short Hang Tough course, but the second season features a much longer course that is similar in length to the original run of the show.
The contenders faced three (later two) Gladiators in a 45 (later 60) second event. The object for the contender was to jump from a platform using a bungee cord, use their momentum to propel themselves from the floor to a cylinder with red, yellow, and blue colored scoring balls, grab one, then spring back to their platform and deposit them in a bin. The Gladiators were there to try to block the contenders from doing so.
1 point was awarded for each yellow ball grabbed, since they were the lowest level and easiest to grab. The blue balls were on the second level of the cylinder, and were worth 2-3 points. The red balls were highest on the cylinder and were worth 3-6 points.
The Maze (1991-93)
A giant maze was constructed across the entire length of the arena floor, and the contenders were given 45 seconds to negotiate their way through it. Inside were four Gladiators, armed with blocking pads to impede their path. The Maze also had several dead ends throughout, and only two correct paths to escape (which changed every time, as there were movable partitions placed inside to allow the changes).
The first contender to escape earned 10 points, with the second earning 5.
ky Track (1992-1995, 2008-)
The contenders and a Gladiator raced each other on an inverted, Velcro-covered track. Using their hands and feet (each covered in Velcro to assist in moving), they would move down the track to the opposite end, hit an actuator button, and go back to the start line to finish the race.
First place was awarded 10 points, second place 5 points. If the Gladiator came in first or second place, only one contender would earn points in accordance with his or her finish.
The game was different from the British variant.
The second season of the 2008 revival uses the UK rules of Skytrack (spelt Skytrak in the British version). The two contenders race around one lap of a figure-8 track while being chased by a Gladiator. If the Gladiator pulls a ripcord trailing behind the contender, that contender is released from the carriage connecting them to the track and eliminates them from the race. The first contender across without being caught receives 10 points plus some pyrotechnics, while the second receives 5.
Gauntlet (1993-96, 2008-)
In this event, the contenders had to run through a half-pipe chute while avoiding five Gladiators, all holding blocking pads to impede the contender's progress. 25 seconds were given to start. If the contender made it out in time or without being forced out of the chute, they earned 5 points. If they made it out in under 20 seconds, 10 points were awarded.
In the final season of the original series, the event was played with four Gladiators, and the time limits were reduced to 15 seconds for 10 points, and 20 seconds for 5.
For the 2008 revival, the game also underwent a British facelift, with a rule from the UK Series 7 and 8 adopted where the contender earned ten points for making it out in time (30 seconds), which includes crashing through the finish blocks. Should the contender fail to cross the finish block, they earn two points for completing each sector by passing a Gladiator. There are a total of four Gladiators in the Revival. In season 2, the rules remained the same for the Prelims., but changed for the Semi's. The Contender must clear the Gauntlet within the time limit to score (5 points under 30 seconds, 10 points under 20 seconds).
Pyramid (1993-96, 2008-)
The contenders faced a pyramid made out of crash mats, and had to avoid two Gladiators in a race to get to the top and press a scoring button in 45 seconds. The premise was similar to The Wall, with the exception being that instead of chasing the contenders up the pyramid, the Gladiators tried to block the contenders from climbing up to the top of the pyramid. 10 points were awarded for the first contender to reach the top and ring the bell, or hit the actuator, with 5 for the second. Each Gladiator had a contender they were assigned to defend against, instead of the two Gladiators chasing both players at one time and being freely able to switch contenders.
For the 2008 revival, contenders are given 60 seconds to go up the Pyramid, with new rules similar to rules from the UK version from 1992-99 adopted.
* A "scoring zone" was added four tiers down from the top, marked with a white dotted line. Contenders whose feet reach above the white line receive five points, regardless of whether or not they are subsequently knocked down below the scoring zone.
** This is the same location as the UK Gladiators' "red step (safety zone)" which was added to the UK version of the Pyramid in 1997 following the career-ending injury to popular UK series Gladiator Diane "Jet" Youdale. In the UK version, Gladiators could not chase the contender above the "safety step". That rule was not implemented in the U.S. version because it gave a contender an unfair advantage.
*Five more points are given for pressing the actuator at the top of the pyramid. Points are no longer awarded for second place; the event is stopped if either contender should push the actuator at the top. Should this happen, flamethrowers go off behind the Pyramid.
Additionally for the 2008 revival, the Eliminator requires contenders to scale the Pyramid without Gladiators.
The contender faced a Gladiator in a two-man
tug of war, conducted on tilting platforms. The contender started with their platform tilted back, while the Gladiator had to start tilted forward.
If the contender could pull the Gladiator off (or pull the rope out of the Gladiator's hands) in 30 seconds, they earned 10 points. Five points could be earned if the contender pulled more rope, with a flag, to their side when time expired.
The 2008 revival included the game under its British title, Tilt. Unlike in Tug-O-War, The platforms for Contender and Gladiator are no longer the same height, with the Gladiator's platform higher than the Contenders, further negating the Gladiator's natural size and strength advantage. Also, Contenders can earn a draw simply by remaining on the platform for the entire 30 seconds, they no longer have to have the majority of the rope on their side. Finally, the Contenders and Gladiators are attached to the rope by a harness, which removes the possibility of losing by letting go of the rope.
The contender and Gladiator both grasped a triangular shaped "dog bone" with one hand. The object was to either steal the bone from the opponent ("owning the bone") or to drag the Gladiator off the raised convert|20|ft|m|sing=on diameter circular platform the event was conducted on in 30 seconds. Neither contender nor Gladiator could place their second hand on the bone, and if they did so they were disqualified.
During seasons 5 and 6, the contender could only win 10 points by owning the bone, or dragging the Gladiator out of the circle. For the final season contenders could get 10 points for a win or could get 5 points if they could go the entire 30 seconds without getting disqualified or the Gladiator "owning the bone".
The contenders faced two Gladiators, with all attached to bungee cords. Red and blue scoring cylinders were hung from the ceiling of the arena, and the contender's object was to use the bungee cord to run to the cylinder, grab it, and bring it back and deposit it in a bin. The red cylinders were worth 2 (later 1) points, with the blue cylinders worth 3 (later 2), because they were hung higher and further away from the contenders and thus harder to grab.
Season 2 of the revival also has an event called "Snapback," but the game is unrelated to this one.
Hit & Run (2008-)
This version of the 1994-98 UK Gladiators game was added for the 2008 revival.
Contenders traverse a convert|50|ft|m|sing=on suspension bridge hanging above a water tank. Four Gladiators (two on each side of the bridge) attempt to knock the contender off using four 100-pound demolition balls; contestants may duck to avoid getting hit, but cannot crawl along the bridge. Contenders earn 2 points each time they cross the bridge and hit a button on the platform railing, lighing a small column for 2 seconds, until the 60-second time limit expires or they are knocked off the bridge.
An entirely new event in the 2008 revival, the Contender and Gladiator wrestle for 30 seconds on a 12' diameter platform that is moving above the floor of the arena. Whoever throws their opponent completely off the platform and onto the crash pad below is the winner; a contender or Gladiator hanging on to the platform support cables or the edge of the platform is still considered to be on the platform. The Contender receives ten points for throwing the Gladiator off the platform within the 30 seconds, even if they come down in the process, or 5 points for not getting thrown off before time expires. A contender may also receive five points if (as which happened in the first series of the revival) the Gladiator uses their foot illegally on the contender's head to push down the contender. This game is essentially an update of the Conquer portion of Breakthrough & Conquer from the original series. For Season 2, the Earthquake ring was moved over water.
One of three British games (along with the British Skytrack and Tilt) added for the second season of the 2008 revival, Contender and Gladiator race across parallel courses of seven flexible poles. The game begins with both participants racing up a laddered pole. Upon reaching the summit, they must then sway their pole in the direction of the next, crossing onto it. The winner is the first to complete the course, grabbing the large hoop at the end which returns them to the ground. The Contender can earn 10 points by winning the race, or 5 by making it past the fifth pole before the Gladiator wins. When one of the two finish hoops are pulled, pyrotehnic sparks go off above both.
A new event for the second season of the 2008 revival. Two Gladiators and Two Contenders begin the match at the corners of the arena. When each competitor presses a button, they are launched via their harnesses into the air toward two goals at the center of the arena. The contenders try to score by throwing balls into the hoops, while the Gladiators play defense. Goals in the lower basket are worth 1 point, while goals in the upper basket are worth 2. This event can be described as "Powerball" meets "Swingshot".
A new event for Season 2, Sideswipe has both contenders hopping or running from platform to platform above the water as they try to take a colored ball from a container on one end of a line of five platforms and deposit it in a "
bullseye" goal at the other end. While the contestants are transporting the balls, three Gladiators try to knock them off the platforms by swinging at them on rope swings - with the Gladiators themselves being the projectiles. [ [http://www.nbc.com/American_Gladiators/arena/sideswipe.shtml Sideswipe page on NBC.com] ] The event can be described as "'Hit and Run' meets 'Powerball' meets 'Human Cannonball'."
The 2008 version of Snapback (Season 2) is unlike the event of the same name in the original "American Gladiator" series. [ [http://www.nbc.com/American_Gladiators/arena/snapback.shtml Snapback] - from nbc.com] In this event, each contender is connected by a
bungee cordto a Gladiator, who stands on a platform overlooking the end of a convert|50|ft|m|sing=on-long lane. On the sound of a whistle, the contenders race toward red buttons at the end of their lanes while the Gladiators resist by pulling back on their bungee lines. A contender earns 10 points by hitting the red button and launching the Gladiator across the arena with a large glitter bomb exploding behind a launched Gladiator. Markings for 2, 4, 6, and 8 point zones are on the floor near the red button: if the contender is unable to reach the button, they can earn lesser points by having any part of their body in these zones when the 30 second time limit expires.
The Eliminator was the only event throughout the competition where the contenders directly competed against each other rather than against the Gladiators.
The Eliminator was an obstacle course that the contenders had to negotiate, and it changed several times over the years.
First season Eliminator
Originally a timed and scored event with contenders having 60 seconds to complete the course.
*Contenders rolled giant balls up a ramp, then placed them in a receptacle
*Run across balance beam, where six Gladiators swing medicine balls in attempt to knock contender off
*Cross a pit using a set of commando lines
*Swing on a rope over a wall (commonly referred to as the "Swing for Life")
*Negotiate a set of cones, then choose a corridor and a paper barrier to break through. Four barriers were available to choose, two open, two with Gladiators behind them.
For the second half of the first season both the balance beam and commando line portions of the event were extended. In addition, the number of Gladiators by the four barriers were increased from two to three, with one barrier left open. Finally, the scoring format changed- instead of 5 points being awarded for each second remaining on the clock, 2 points were awarded (to coincide with the change in the show's format).
*Scoring remained the same, but now the women had 75 seconds to complete the course while the men still had 60 seconds.
*Contenders ran up ramp, using a reverse treadmill (if a contender was unsuccessful in scaling the treadmill after three tries, the contestant would just scale up the ramp by itself); the speed of the treadmill would increase in later rounds.
*Cross pit through use of a hand bike
*Cross balance beam, where Gladiators swing weighted blocking pads to try to knock contenders off
*Climb a convert|20|ft|m|sing=on cargo net
*Zipline ride back to floor of arena
*Jump two track hurdles, then choose corridor and barrier with only one open.
Third season changes
*Contender with the lead was given a head start (one half-second for every point ahead [this eliminated the need for the scoring and timing of this event, thus making it so that the first person across the finish line was the winner] )
*A penalty for falling off hand bike imposed by Gladiator and Game Judge
** Ten seconds for women.
** Seven seconds for men.
*Balance beam replaced by spinning cylinder
*Contenders had to climb two walls (originally one, then face a medicine ball gauntlet operated by two gladiators and climb over a hurdle)
*Gladiators threw giant medicine balls at contenders from an elevated platform after second wall
*Climb over hurdle and break tape to win. Any part of the player's body that crosses the plane of the finish line determines the winner, not the player's torso. This resulted in players making drastic dives across the finish line, including the Series 3 Championship.
Fourth season changes
*Second wall taken out, first wall changed to plexiglass
*Blocking pad gauntlet operated by two Gladiators
*Longer run from final hurdle to finish line
Fifth season changes
*Contender scaled tower using a Versaclimber machine (a product placement), then slid down to the hand bike when successful
*Treadmill moved to end of course. Two attempts were given and the machine was slower to compensate for course change. Referee is at treadmill.
*Rope swing through paper barrier to finish
*Game judge administers match at start and starts both players (not referee) in addition to determining which player had which lane after the zip line.
Note: This configuration (specifically the treadmill/rope swing combo) was based on the UK Gladiators Eliminator.
ixth season change
*The only change between season 5 and 6 was the treadmill's free pass rule. The contender had a minute to make it to the top of the treadmill before they could run up the side.
eventh season changes
*Spinning cylinder replaced by two ball-filled pits, which contenders had to wade through and climb out of
For both International Gladiators tournaments (1994 and 1996), which were held in the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England, the Eliminator was the same one that the UK Gladiators show was using at the time:
*Jumping over high hurdles and crawling under low ones
*Climbing a commando rope to a platform, then crossing the pit using a "hand ladder" (monkey bars; women only), or the hand bike (men only)
*Running across the spinning cylinders
*Climbing the cargo net
*Riding down the zip line
*Walking across a balance beam
*Running up the Travelator (treadmill)
*Rope swing through barrier for finish
* Climb an convert|8|ft|m|sing=on wall (a rope is provided if needed).
* Jump into a convert|20|ft|m|sing=on long pool from the convert|8|ft|m|sing=on wall and swim underneath a "fiery surface"
* Climb convert|30|ft|m|sing=on cargo net
* Barrel roll
**Very similar to the "Rolling Log" obstacle in the Japanese series
SASUKE(Ninja Warrior). Contenders grip the barrel and roll with it down an incline. There is no penalty for falling off the barrel.
** No penalty is mentioned for falling off the handbike. However, in the Grand Championship of Season 1, Monica Carlson appeared to be detained for 7 seconds after falling off the handbike. Fact|date=February 2008
* Downhill balance beam
* Ascend the Pyramid
* Ride down the zip line
* Treadmill (Called the Travelator)
** There is a rope about halfway for assistance if necessary.
** There is no "free pass" permitted if contenders cannot ascend the treadmill, unlike the original series. In the spirit of sportsmanship, if a winner has been determined, the second contestant may have the treadmill stopped if that contestant is unable to successfully cross the treadmill.
* Climb up stairs and crash through a wall for finish
The second season's eliminator was revamped with the following changes:
* wall removed, pool lengthened to convert|40|ft|m
* Barrel roll replaced with a rope swing
* Commando lines ("Tightrope") added before Hand bike
* deep ball pit added underneath the hand bike instead of time penalty
* Balance beam removed, replaced with spinning cylinder, called the "rolling pin"
* Teeter-totter balance beam added before the travelator
* Final wall replaced with a rope swing through banners and into water with pyrotechnics for the winner
How Eliminator was conducted
The Eliminator was originally a timed and scored event. The contenders were given a set time of 60 seconds (later 90 and then 75 for the women) to complete the course, with both starting at the same time. Each second left on the clock when the contender crossed the finish line was worth two (originally 5) points. Any falls on the course or other violations resulted in 5 or 10 (originally 25) point deductions.
The trailing contender would have their deficit divided by two (five), and the number left would be the number of seconds they had to beat their opponent by. Doing so won them the competition. If they managed to tie their opponent, they would advance based on faster time.
Starting in season 3 (including the 2008 revival), the contender in the lead was given a head start based on how big their lead was, with each point being worth a half-second in time. (For example, a 10 point lead would be a 5 second head start). The trailing contender then had to make that deficit up. If there is a tie before the Eliminator, however, both contenders start at the same time. Also, the contenders had no time limit to complete the course. The contender who finished first won the match, regardless of score. From season 3 to season 7, if a contender managed to fall off the handbikes, the contender was detained by a Gladiator, 10 seconds for the women, and 7 seconds for the men. In the 2008 revival, no penalty was announced, but video evidence appears to show several contenders detained after falling off the handbike.
From season 5 on, there were no Gladiators operating any obstacles in the Eliminator, but in seasons 5 and 6 two Gladiators and a Game Judge were used in the Penalty Pit for the purpose of "enforcing" the time penalty for any contender that fell off the hand bike. The referee was now positioned at the end of the course, on the treadmill, instead of the start line; at the start line, the game judge would start the competition, and often the referee or second game judge would assist if the two start times were very close. In Season 7 and the 2008 revival, no Gladiators were present anywhere on the course.
Often in Season 3, the finish line created controversy over who crossed the line first as many photo finishes took place. There was no "player's torso" rule on crossing the tape, and often it was decided which part of the contender's body crossed the marked finish line won the game, not the torso crossing over the tape.
In the first and second season the contender who got off the swing over the barrier or zipline first would have a choice between which lane to take. For seasons 3, 4, and earlier rounds in 5, the player who arrived first at the end of the zip line took the outside line the player who arrived second took the inner line. Late in season 5, whoever got off the zipline first took the inside lane and the second one off took the outside. In very close races, the Game Judge would inform which player had which lane.
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