The Real Team America

I'm starting to notice a lot of nostalgia amongst those in my generation, which could be attributed to a number of factors (i.e. getting up in our years: 1997 was a decade ago?!) supreme among which is the fact that the '00s are turning out to be REALLY fucked up and we're only 7 years deep.

there is perhaps no greater icon for the oeuvre of the '80s baby than American Gladiators. there's a reason the boys at ESPN Classic decided to rejuvenate this television classic, a showpiece for the culmination of the American Century. yes, a physical embodiment of our accomplishments, our machismo, our braveness in the face of a world becoming progressively worse.

for those of you hopelessly in the dark (maybe your parents didn't allow you to watch tv out of some sadistic quest to keep you pure? maybe you were a political prisoner at the time? maybe you're blind and television was not a primary form of entertainment growing up?), American Gladiators was a syndicated programme that pitted four meatheads (two male, two female) against a rogue's gallery of bigger, stronger, faster meatheads with creative nicknames in a series of elaborate and highly orchestrated physical contests. basically a really intense, televised obstacle course, at the end of which the true beast emerged with the cash (about 20k USD), the car, and the cunt (or the cock in the case of the women's champion). youtube it. you won't regret it.

so many days worn away, some trying to recreate the breathtakingly dangerous feats of athleticism performed onscreen, but most spent sitting in front of the Zenith with a box of teddy grams [sic] in one hand and a big gulp sized sports bottle with the accordion straw in the other, eagerly awaiting the eliminator so i could watch Laser fuck cats up. Laser was my favorite. yeah. Who was your favorite i wonder? And what was your favorite event? There's only one correct answer.

some AG trivia, courtesy of wikipedia.org

- During season three, two contenders had accidents while finishing the Eliminator. One fell off the zipline shortly after taking to it, but emerged uninjured. In the first episode of the second half, female contender Angela Shepard landed wrong off the zipline and severely injured her ankle, rendering her unable to finish the course (although she got to return during a special police themed episode of AG a few years later).

- Season four was probably one of the most injury-plagued seasons in AG history. While the Gladiators were fairly injury-free (save for Elektra's broken nose in the Grand Championship), more than a few contenders were put out due to injury, including at least three winners who were unable to advance any further in the tournament due to their injury.

- Quite possibly the most dramatic finish in AG history came during the men's Eliminator in season three's Grand Championship. Runner up Joe Mauro held a four second lead over champion Mark Ortega and held it all the way down to the first wall, while Ortega pecked away at it. Mauro struggled with the first wall and gave up on his first attempt to scale it. Just as Mauro came back down, Ortega came off the zipline and caught up with him. They were nearly even scaling the second wall, and Mauro held a slight lead going down the straightaway to the hurdle. Ortega flew over the hurdle just as Mauro cleared it, and both landed at the finish line at approximately the same time, causing the officials to review the finish. It was determined that Ortega's hand crossed the finish line a split second before Mauro broke the tape at the line, and he was crowned Grand Champion.

- In the final alumni show, dubbed the "Battle of the Best", a famous moment took place when season six Grand Champion Kyler Storm performed a somersault leap over Turbo in Breakthrough to score (he had wanted to perform the move during his season, but he was told not to, so he kept his mouth shut this time around). The two would clash again in Swingshot, when Turbo caught Kyler in mid-air and got into a fistfight after Kyler had faked two earlier leaps from his platform, a violation of the rules. Both would be disqualified for their actions, although Kyler did receive some of the points he lost by his fake jumps.

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