July 30 2008
Wolf is an incredible athlete, daredevil, and showman. After working as a rodeo clown and bull rider for 23 years and being known as "Hollywood" in both rodeo and wrestling circles, he was recruited to become an American Gladiator.
He came by the title "Wolf" naturally. His wife told him that he resembled their dog, a husky/malamute cross, and he's said that he's always tended to howl like a wolf when he's successful athletically. Somehow the entire Wolf persona fits him to a tee, and he seems to enjoy playing it up for the show.
On the eve of the season two finale of American Gladiators, I was able to speak to Wolf and find out more about him and what he does.
Question: Hi Wolf! Should I call you Wolf or Hollywood?
Wolf: Oh it doesn't matter. I have multiple personalities, so one of 'em will step up to answer.
Q: Hopefully we don't get confused then! Did you watch the original American Gladiators series?
Wolf: Yeah, I watched every episode! My favorites were, from the guys, Nitro and Hawk, and from the ladies I'd have to say Ice and Zap.
Q: I've read that Hang Tough is your favorite event because it gives you time and opportunity to toy with the contenders. Do you have a least favorite event?
Wolf: Nah, you know, I love every event. I'm what's called a "peer athlete," which means that I can do pretty much anything. If I had to choose a least favorite though, I guess it would be The Wall. The contenders get a seven-second head start in that one, so if you're not a phenomenal wall climber there's no way to catch up. And if the contender is a phenomenal wall climber, there's no way to catch up.
Q: Do you practice and train for all of the events, or just a select few?
Wolf: We train for all of them, but sometimes we don't get much time to do that. Like that new one, the Altrasphere. They were building that when the season started taping, and they brought it in the night before we had to actually compete. We went in and did it once, and that was all the training we had.
Luckily though, NBC and MGM were smart and picked a group of top athletes for the show, who are able to adapt and adjust quickly to whatever they throw at us.
Q: You've faced 2000-pound bulls, wrestled some really tough guys, and taken on many contenders in the Gladiators Arena. Is there anything that scares you?
Wolf: No, nothing scares me. Well, maybe my wife getting mad at me, but that's about it. I don't let fear run my life at all. I'm very in touch with God, so if one day I don't make it through, great, I'll go to Heaven. And if not, then cool, I get to live another day and have fun with my life.
Q: Do you know how many injuries you've sustained throughout your career?
Wolf: I've lost count. I think over 130 broken bones, three knee surgeries, a torn Achilles tendon. I was gored by a bull and had to have emergency surgery to save my life. That happened exactly one year to the day before I started American Gladiators.
Q: So Gladiators must be pretty tame compared to all of that!
Wolf: Oh yeah. Gladiators is like recess. I get to go out and play with all of my friends.
Q: How does your wife feel about your career?
Wolf: Oh she loves everything. We met when I was at the top of my game in the rodeo, so life for us has always been like this. She's used to me being away for taping and then all of the publicity stuff that goes along with it.
It's also given her the opportunity to do something she loves. She's working with a neurology institute on a program for spouses of injury victims, those who have lost the use of their limbs or been paralyzed somehow. She's putting together this program to get the spouses in good shape to be able to take care of their husbands or wives who have been injured. So my career has enabled her to move away from a job she doesn't enjoy and get into something she loves to do.
Q: How much time do you spend training for Gladiators?
Wolf: Well, like I said, I'm a peer athlete so I don't really train specifically for the events. I go to the gym every day; I try to get there and workout seven days a week, but sometimes the schedule doesn't allow for that if I'm out promoting or whatever. But I try for seven days a week, and try to eat right to keep in shape. But I'm not specifically jousting or climbing walls.