It started with 64 challengers, everyday athletes from around the country with something to prove.
After weeks of competition in “The Titan Games,” “the most insane athletic competition ever devised,” according to creator/actor/professional wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the field has been whittled down to the top 16.
One of those 16 titans, Bridger Buckley, calls Pullman home while he attends Washington State University.
He’ll compete in the “Titan Games” semi-finals tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC.
“The Titan Games” premiered on Jan. 3, and Buckley’s episode aired on Jan. 10.
During his episode, Buckley faced off against Robbie Strauss, a former professional wrestler and stay-at-home dad, in a challenge called Hammering Ram.
Buckley and Strauss first had to swing a 10-pound hammer against a metal plate until they triggered the release of a 350-pound battering ram.
Using a rope, Buckley and Strauss then had to swing the battering ram until it broke through a massive set of wooden doors.
It only took Buckley about 10 swings to release the battering ram (“He may break a record,” Johnson said as he watched from the sidelines.), but breaking through the set of doors took him and Strauss awhile.
But after a little encouragement from Johnson, Buckley was able to break through and came out on top.
He then moved on to Mt. Olympus, the crowning glory of the arena, where he and firefighter Steven Hoppe faced off in tests of speed, agility, endurance and strength.
Buckley and Hoppe were neck and neck for the entire competition, reaching the top of Mt. Olympus at the same time.
Buckley completed one challenge, using a crank to raise a 600-pound torch, slightly faster than Hoppe and began to make his descent down Mt. Olympus to the final obstacle, but Hoppe was mere seconds behind.
The match came down to a 250-pound ball and chain, which Buckley and Hoppe had to drag across the arena. They then had to use a hammer to break into a vault of sorts and retrieve a key that would lock them in as a titan.
It was a tight race, but Buckley was ultimately crowned the champion.
“You’ve earned this one, man,” Johnson said as he placed a titan medal around Buckley’s neck. “Congratulations, brother. Great job.”
When speaking to the Spokesman-Review in December, Buckley didn’t give away any hints about the semi-finals, but he did want viewers to know that hard work really does pay off.
“I think one of the biggest parts for me is how much you can accomplish if you put your head down and work for it,” he said. “If you know what you have to do to accomplish something and you don’t take the easy way out and just do it, anything can really happen.”
The winners of tonight’s semi-finals move onto the finals, which air Feb. 28. During the finals, remaining athletes will participate in another test of strength before competing on Mt. Olympus for the last time.
One man and one woman will then be crowned the overall titans, taking home $100,000 each.
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