Undefeated in the U.K. arena, Lightning (also known as Kim Betts) is also the longest-serving Gladiator. After all those years, she had only one defeat at the first of the Australian Ashes series. In 1999, after seven years of dominating, she delivered a baby boy and was back at the Gladiators arena just three weeks later.
She is one tough competitor. Originally, from age six, Lighting was a gymnast. Most recently, she rejoined fellow Gladiators for the Legends specials in 2008. These days, Betts is a successful businesswoman in property development and runs a beauty parlor. Betts also presented a children’s T.V. show on BFBS.
Debbie Clark took "American Gladiators" by storm in 1991. The talented track and field athlete trained as an Olympic hopeful at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado. Assistant producer Gary Parker scouted her out and recruited aggressively, naming her Storm for 'blowing them all away.' With a degree in psychology and a certificate in culinary arts, she went with showbiz.
Tragically, in 2008, Clark found herself homeless with her son. Fleeing domestic violence, she had nowhere else to go and lived at a shelter. A fundraising effort led by celebrities freed her. She got an apartment and free knee surgery; now, she's an advocate for the homeless.
Football was Mark Tucker's sport. Out of USC, he signed with the Colts and played six seasons, exiting the NFL with the Saints. Tucker then went on to play ten more seasons with the AFL. He even did some coaching. Working out at the USC weights room one day, he ran into Gladiators Sky and Turbo.
They recruited him as an alternate participant, and he qualified for the show in the middle of Season 5. As it goes, Sky named him "Rebel" because that's how he looked. As a Gladiator, Rebel dominated in Joust, Powerball, and Atlaspheres. After his NFL career came to a close, he moved on to the Arena Football League with the Arizona Rattlers as a player and later, a coach.
Jim Starr was a bodybuilder and NFL player before taking the American Gladiator challenge. He played for the Los Angeles Rams in 1987 after having won the Mr. Montana bodybuilder title in 1986. A football injury, by coincidence, introduced him to the show.
During his off time, a chance meetup with Gladiator Dan "Nitro" Clark led him to "American Gladiators." Score! Starr competed in all seven seasons and held the title for the longest-serving male Gladiator. Unfortunately, he also holds the record for the most injuries. Now he owns Sports Nutrition Consulting Group and is a director at Life Time Fitness.
Cheryl Baldinger had a truly unforgettable time as an American Gladiator. In fact, she was better known as Sunny on the show and she was one of the six original American Gladiators. The 6'2" bundle of strength and beauty presented a dominating force. She came to the show as a competitive swimmer and a model.
A knee injury in the semi-final episode of Season 1 derailed Baldinger's Gladiator aspirations. Falling from a high platform while fighting Tracy Phillips in the Conquer event ended it. That's when Jade was called in to replace Sunny. After AG, she turned to acting, modeling, art, and competitive bike riding.