Airman by day, gladiator by night

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Oleksandra G. Manko
  • Nellis AFB Public Affairs
"Do something amazing," says the Air Force, and so the Airmen do - from putting their uniform on in service for their country to helping at a homeless shelter on their time off.

Every once in a while, one of them gets to do not only something amazing, but something quite out of the ordinary. Senior Airman Ryan Michaels, Lake Havasu City native with the 99th Security Forces Group Armory, has a shot at representing the Air Force on the soon to be reactivated 90's hit show, "American Gladiators."

The 24-year-old Airman Michaels said his wife, Ashley, convinced him to participate in the trials when they came across NBC promoters at a fitness convention in early October.

The trials were held the following weekend and included a 40-yard sprint, a mini obstacle course, pull-ups and pushups.

"They called me back that night," said Airman Michaels. "At 11 o'clock I got a weird phone call. It was kind of funny - I didn't think I would make it."

The second cut took place a few days after the initial trial. It was an on-camera interview that lasted about 20 minutes. As the interviewers asked away, the Nellis candidate felt quite comfortable, passing on to the next stage.

For the third task Airman Michaels had to get creative. The producers requested a videotape of his day-to-day activities: at home, at work, at the gym, with his family and friends.

"I got a video camera and started walking around and having my life videotaped - it was kind of fun," said Airman Michaels. "My buddies and my squadron got involved. They were all really supportive. Col. Gerald Curry [99th SFG commander] was awesome; my supervision, my superintendent - all are great."

"Senior Airman Michaels is a supervisor's dream," said Master Sgt. Todd Matthews, training and resources superintendent with the 99th SFG. "He's razor sharp, extremely fit and always professional. We call him our 'Air Force poster child.'"

Now all that's left is waiting. As friends and family entertain themselves by coming up with possible stage names for the future gladiator, Airman Michaels goes about his routine workout schedule, which includes "basic cardio that hurts and basic weights." The athlete admitted that he feels like something is wrong if he doesn't get his daily two-hour workout.

In January, Airman Michaels is planning to get certified with 'Cross Fit' to be able to work part time as a personal trainer. He is also working on a degree in law enforcement and enjoys his job in the Air Force, whatever the outcome of the Gladiator auditions may be.

"If he is not selected, I don't think he will be upset," said Sergeant Matthews. "I think he will be glad he had the opportunity to compete and represent the Air Force, which is an accomplishment on its own."