Arlington Marine mom Bonnie Blanco, 25, had a shot at glory in Sunday night's premiere of American Gladiator redux, but came up just short against a 31-year-old life-wellness trainer, Shanay Norvell, who looks destined to be on next year's Gladiator team.
It was down to the final challenge, the eliminator, a brutal obstacle course "with fire and water" that reduces the fittest specimens to jelly. Blanco bloodied her head on a steel bar after diving into the fire water just after the challenge began. She fell behind Norvell and never recovered. But she persevered and closed the gap at the finish, demonstrating grit and determination.
Homeys can be proud. Bedford resident Adam Levin and Carrollton's Toni Oppliger are next up. The resurrected Gladiator moves to 7 p.m. Mondays on KXAS/Channel 5 after Sunday's two-hour premiere.