A TOP international athlete has told how he gave up his sporting career to become a TV star.
Alex Gray started his career playing rugby at under-16s before moving on to the Premiership and England sevens team.
He later gave up rugby to move to to the NFL in the United States, signing for the Atlanta Falcons in 2017.
But now he had been confirmed as a Gladiator in the BBC reboot of the hit 90s show – and will be known as Apollo.
Talking about the show, he said: "Gladiator, ready? You better believe I am! After playing rugby and in the NFL, the opportunity to inspire as Apollo is a dream come true.
"I plan on leading from the front and never giving up."
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In an Instagram post he added: “Words really can’t describe this feeling. From being inspired by this show as a kid and dreaming of being a Gladiator one day, being totally amazed by the games, the arena and the original Gladiators, to now being chosen as one of them, it’s unbelievable.
“I’ve done some cool stuff in my life but this is absolutely the greatest. Never ever give up on yourself!
“Dig deep, keep the stars in your eyes, the fire in your heart and keep on believing.”
“Named after the Greek God of Sun. I can’t wait to get out there and dish out the greatest ass-whooping Saturday night TV has ever seen… and to also win this years’ sexiest man in spandex award.”
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Apollo will join previously announced gladiators Nitro, Diamond, Giant, Fire, Legend, Fury and Steel – a line-up of Olympians, influencers, weightlifting champions and athletes from all walks of life.
They include fitness influencer Matt Morsia, who will go by the name Legend; England women's rugby sevens player Jodie Ounsley, known as Fury; and Team GB sprinter Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, who will go by Nitro.
The 11-part series, hosted by Bradley Walsh and his son Barney, will see contestants face new and old games, including classic challenge The Eliminator.
Filming is set to begin in around June.
Gladiators will be aired on BBC One and available to rewatch on the iPlayer.
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