A phenomenon swept across Britain, dominating television screens on Saturday nights from 1992 until 2000—the show was Gladiators. For those unfamiliar with the format, each week 4 contenders (2 female and 2 male) competed against a team of Gladiators in epic demonstrations of skill, strength and stamina.
My favourite of all the female Gladiators is Lightning – real name Kim Betts (née Williams). Prior to becoming a Gladiator, Betts competed for Great Britain as a gymnast, amassing 32 medals, 23 of which were gold. As Lightning, she was the only female Gladiator to have competed in all 8 series and even made a comeback during the revived Gladiators in 2008 where she represented the original team in ‘The Legends Return’ (the female Legends were victorious). Lightning was also known as the Queen of ‘Hang Tough’ and was undefeated in the UK arena.
Lightning is one of the toughest and most determined of all the Gladiators and along with the other original female Gladiators, showed the world that women weren’t limited by their beauty. These were women who were strong and powerful, smart, successful, and above all, positive role models. Although people have their favourites, no one Gladiator was bigger than the show, and as well as their own individual talents, the Gladiators were great advocates of teamwork. The Gladiators epitomised camaraderie and good sportsmanship – they were humble in their victories and gracious in defeat, a motto that anyone would do well to remember.