Cardiff Contestant on Gladiators Attributes Participation to Midlife Crisis


Matt Jones, a 41-year-old civil engineer from Cardiff, humorously attributes his participation in the revamped BBC One version of the ’90s show Gladiators to his “midlife crisis”. Despite not being traditionally sporty or athletic, Jones decided to change this in recent years to inspire his young sons. He enjoyed his time on the show so much that he even got a Gladiators tattoo on his leg.

Jones, who will appear in Saturday’s episode, said he saw the call for contestants on social media and felt compelled to apply. He admits to going through what his wife calls a “midlife crisis”, but he prefers to see it as “midlife challenges”. He is pushing himself to do things he wouldn’t normally do.

Jones confessed that he never participated in sports as a child or at university, something he now regrets. He was always the last one picked for sports at school and didn’t do much physical activity as an adult. He wanted to show his children the importance of trying new and challenging things to get the most out of life.

Entering the Gladiators arena with his wife Emily and sons Will, 10, and Sam, 12, watching was an emotional experience for Jones. He recalls feeling a mix of happiness and excitement, but also reflecting on his childhood insecurities. Despite not being athletic growing up, Jones has taken up boxing and competed in ironman triathlons in recent years.

He saw participating in Gladiators as the ultimate challenge and a way to prove to his younger self that he could accomplish such a feat. The experience was so meaningful that he got a tattoo to commemorate it.

Jones revealed that the auditions for the show were physically demanding, but he managed to outperform some younger contestants. He noted that the Gladiators on the show were significantly larger and tougher than he expected. However, behind the scenes, they were friendly and supportive.

Jones’ goal was to show that an ordinary person could compete against these superhuman Gladiators. He considered this his success. Gladiators airs on Saturday evenings on BBC One and is available on BBC iPlayer.

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