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Thursday, July 24, 2008

BNB Exclusive: Justin Sits Down with Venom from American Gladiators

On January 6, 2008, American Gladiators redebuted on NBC. Due to the writers strike, AG became a relative hit and easily complemented NBC’s lineup with such shows as “Deal or No Deal.” "Hosted by Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali, the show matches amateur athletes against each other and the show's own "gladiators" in contests of strength, agility, and endurance. It is a revival of the original American Gladiators which ran from 1989-1996, with elements of the UK version of the 1990s. An average of 12 million people watched the two-hour premier" (Wikipedia).

On May 12, 2008, AG was back and better than ever, debuting 8 new Gladiators over the course of the season but retaining many fan favorites. Among the returning gladiators was the ferocious "Venom" also known as Beth Horn, an a passionate woman who never saw a dream too big to chase or a goal to far to ignore. Justin Yost recently spent time e-mailing Beth:

Your first steps as a gladiator were made in September of 2007, just a week after a fitness competition? Why'd you decide to make the move from competitions such as fitness and figure to something more in line with direct competition, such as Gladiators?

I had not competed in fitness in over four years. I decided to do another show just for fun & it was actually my first figure competition. A week later my coach told me about the auditions. I was hesitant at first because I was out of town, but my coach said you have to come back home for this. Once I was committed, I was extremely psyched about the show. I thought, “This could be big”! I told them from day one, “I want to be a Gladiator”. That was my goal and that was my intention for the next four months!

Anyone who's done anything remotely athletic or follows most major sports knows that a torn ACL is one of the more devastating injuries. You've down it twice and yet we watch you on American Gladiators every week. What's your secret?

You have got to keep your body strong, especially the quads & hamstrings. My workouts are extremely athletic, which is key. It is all about performing athletically. My workouts are full of sprinting, jumping, plyos, etc. I do not do any cardio and very little weights. My trainer, Bob Dixon is a genius at what he does. He constantly changes everything up and keeps it challenging & fun.

Sure, I get it, you snare them in with charm and good looks and then strike them with your bite. But seriously, "Venom", where'd that come from?'

Venom was a collaboration of all the Gladiators and NBC coming up with names and characters. I like it. There is no known antidote for Venom! :)~

Both you and Michael O'Hearn (Titan) are known for a more holistic way of training. Have you ever compared notes?

I have never compared notes with Mike, so I don’t know what his holistic approach is. I feel the mind & body are so connected. I work on myself on every level- physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually. When you workout, eat healthy, sleep enough, you feel incredible inside and out. Everyone wants to look good, but feeling great is the best. Health is everything. When you have your health you should be happy and grateful. I believe we are spiritual beings having a physical experience, so enjoy what life has to offer!

You've faced some adversity and some disappointment (so many third place finishes!) and yet you have such a positive attitude. Is that the key to your success and what advice would you give to someone to help them remain positive?

In fitness, the top two places turned professional. I placed third, three times in a row at all the Nationals. I was so frustrated! Twelve weeks out before my last chance to qualify that year, I was walking at the beach, stepped down & broke my foot in two places! From that point on, I told myself never again will I let negative thoughts, negative energy and people get to me like that again. I got back to my positive attitude and wrote down on my note card, “I am the Overall National Fitness Champion”. I indeed became champion on November 11, 2000.

My positive attitude has been crucial to my career and my life. Our thoughts are energy. When you are thinking positively, you are creating positive feelings. These thoughts & feelings are creating what you are bringing into your life! Replace a negative thought with a positive one. Enjoy & feel those positive feelings & follow up with your positive actions.

I know this seems a bit unfair but, numerous rogue bloggers have claimed that American Gladiators is nothing more than low budget professional wrestling and is completely staged. Have any thoughts on that matter?

WHAT!? Are you kidding me!? American Gladiators is completely real & it is 100% pure competition!!! We go all out on every competitor. I give 100% every time I am in the Gladiator arena. This is my Olympics! I am going to give that contender everything I have, so look out!!

What do you think of the former contestants-turned-gladiators from last season? Any animosity amongst the gladiators of the old class versus the new class? (Sharks and Jets maybe?)

I think Jet & Rocket did a terrific job this season as Gladiators. I thought they looked great on camera & performed well. They fit right in with all of us. We have an amazing bunch of Gladiators. I love all of them! I think Jet & Rocket found it much harder than they thought it would be, being on our side as Gladiators this time around!

From my sit down with "Wolf" we learned that events were essentially given on a first come first serve basis. You've ended up doing quite a few events, but which one is your favorite and why?

I would say we do the events we are strongest in. I am happy that I am able to do any of the events, but my favorites are the Wall & Hang Tough. These two events are by far the most challenging! On the rings you never know what is going to happen & there really is no ‘game plan’. The Wall is just a difficult course and it is 50 feet high. I like a great challenge. However, the new event, Sideswipe is the ultimate blast, just not quite as challenging.

We can't all be gladiators forever, eventually, when you finish, what's next?

Well, I will always be a Gladiator! I am Venom forever. J I just finished my first movie (Wolf is in it too!) It is called Fancypants & it will be out in 2009. We both played pro-wrestlers and even had a fight scene together. This was choreographed, unlike Gladiators & it was an awesome experience. I plan on doing more T.V. and movies. I will have my own show one day. I would like to play a Super Hero and a James Bond girl in movies. I am working on several projects, including training/workout dvds. I will continue to promote health and fitness through out my life as well as inspire people to follow their dreams and believe in themselves.

As Venom, you're pretty fearsome, but which other gladiator do you fear the most (Personally, If I run into Justice in the street, I'm passing…and you can tell Wolf I said that)?'

I have to say I love all the Gladiators! I know them so well and I know they are really great people with warm hearts, so I really fear none of them! However watching it on T.V. as a spectator, Wolf, Toa & Militia are kinda scary!

And for some fun ones…
favorite pizza topping?
thin crust; pepperoni!
Mini-van or SUV?
Mini-van? no way! SUV- if it’s a hybrid.
Ice Cream Flavor (no chocolate, vanilla or strawberry…I'm talking real flavors here!)?
Believe it or not I do not like ice cream! I like frozen yogurt. Vanilla!
Favorite sports team?
Chicago Bears, Bulls, Cubs & Sox! (Yes, I am from Chicago!)
Coke or Pepsi?
if I have to pick, Coke
Favorite TV Show?
do you have to ask? “AMERICAN GLADIATORS!” & Top Model
When you were a kid, where did you see yourself at your current age?
No, I never saw myself at this age as a kid!
Okay, last one. You strike me as someone who's got a few moves of her own. Ever teach your Husband a thing or two about being a Gladiator?

Ha! He would tell you “I taught her everything she knows!” He did teach me how to tackle for Powerball!

Any last words Beth?
Be grateful for everything. Have fun in life & enjoy each and everyday. Dream big & go for it. You can do anything you put your mind to!

I'd like to thank Beth Horn for taking the time to talk with me. She was a pleasure and a treat. You can visit Beth's website at

Think you've got what it takes to beat a gladiator? Find out by auditioning here.

''You can see Venom and all the Gladiators on the return of “American Gladiators,” next Monday, July 28 at 8:00PM on NBC.''

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