Sunday, January 20, 2008

Former Knicks City Dancer Kim to Appear on American Gladiators 

Posted by James at 6:55 AM ET

From Knicks.com

Former Knicks City Dancer Kim will be appearing on NBC’s American Gladiators on Monday, January 28. NYKnicks.com recently sat down with her to hear all about her experience.

How did you find out you would be competing on American Gladiators?

I heard NBC was holding try-outs in several cities throughout the country, so I attended the open try-out in Brooklyn back in September. I was a huge fan of the show when I was younger and I've always seemed to impress people with my strength and agility... so I figured I would give it a try! At the try-out we had to do as many pull-ups as we could and then run a circuit course and a 40-yard dash. I was really nervous because I was the tiniest person there, but they said that my time was really fast! They invited me to a call-back at the NBC studios in New York City where I interviewed on-camera and was then asked to make a 10-minute video documenting my life, my family, and why I wanted to be on the show...and they only gave me 3 days to do it. I had a friend follow me with a camera to my medical sales job during the day, and then brought the camera with me to my pilates class at night. Kim, Knicks City Dancer I filmed myself working out, dancing, tumbling, and doing pull-ups in my backyard...and I traveled home to interview my family and film myself swimming in my 50 degree pool (swimming was a requirement for the show, so they wanted us to prove that we were strong swimmers). I sent in the tape, but more than a month went by and I heard nothing. I finally got a call in November, and they immediately flew me out to California for the audition finals where we were put through a week long series of very strenuous workouts. I came back to the east coast for a week for Thanksgiving and then got a call from the casting director that weekend letting me know that they selected me to be a part of the show. I was flown out to LA the very next morning to start the taping of the show! I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I felt so excited, so ready for the challenge, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could handle anything.

Which competitions were your favorites?

My absolute favorite event was Powerball. It was the first event that I competed in and it was the biggest adrenaline rush I've ever experienced. It was the first time I ever had to wear a mouth guard, and even though I had no idea what it would feel like to be tackled...I wasn't concerned! I was so excited to play the game, and played with nothing but positive thoughts, speed, instinct, and energy! I think I may have suffered a very slight concussion afterward though.

I always thought that the Joust would be my favorite because of my strong ability to balance as a dancer and gymnast. It's the one event I used to want to play as a kid. It looks so easy on TV, but the Joust was the scariest event in the entire competition! I never knew how heavy those pugil sticks actually are, and how painful and jarring it is to get hit in the head with them!

Who did you have supporting you on the show?

My parents really wanted to come and support me, but after I saw how DANGEROUS and REAL this competition was I made the decision not to fly my parents out to watch. I saw two contenders get seriously injured during Powerball and I couldn't imagine what my parents would feel like sitting there watching something like this happen to me. My mom and dad have been to all my dance performances and competitions, but I would feel too nervous knowing that they would be watching me get tackled, chased, smacked in the face, and potentially injured by a woman who is so much stronger and heavier than me.

I'm a performer, so giving it my all and putting on a good show for the crowd at the Gladiator Arena was no problem! The live audience and the other contenders were my support system throughout the entire competition.

What was it like going up against the gladiators?

I was the lightest person on the show. Some of the Gladiators I went up against stood at least 1/2 a foot taller than me and were 30 lbs. heavier than me! And then there was Hellga, she's almost a foot taller than me and is 89 lbs. heavier than me...I was so relieved that I only had to face her in Assault.

I saw the Gladiators for the very first time when I was geared up and ready to go on my first event. They are extremely intimidating! I took one look at them, turned to Hulk Hogan (the show's co-host) and asked him to give me all of his strength and power. He grabbed my hands and said, "Be careful out there".

Can you also talk about how being a former KCD member might have prepared you for the competition?

I was a Knicks City Dancer for 5 seasons and worked really hard to stay fit and in shape to perform all the routines we had to perform on game nights. The only thing that keeps me strong and at my peak performance is dancing and tumbling.

As a Knicks City Dancer we had long and strenuous rehearsals to prepare for all of the games. We put every ounce of energy we have into a 50 second routine...and there is no room for mistakes. On American Gladiators I had to give it my all in each short 30-60 second event. I learned to deal with bruises, sore muscles, and pain.

The Knicks City Dancer auditions each season were some of the toughest and most nerve-wracking auditions of my life...so I wasn't really nervous when I walked into the “American Gladiator” auditions. Being a Knicks City Dancer gave me confidence.

As a Knicks City Dancer I had to face many fears- I was used to performing in front of 20,000 fans at Madison Square Garden. The Gladiator Arena was loud and intense, but I'm comfortable with that! The louder the fans are...the better!!!

I was faced with many new challenges as a Knicks City Dancer. In my 5th year, I was the oldest dancer on the team…but I stepped up my game and taught myself to tumble in 4-inch high heels on the hardwood basketball court! I'm always up for new challenges.
Kim, Knicks City Dancer
Being a part of American Gladiators was a very fulfilling experience for me. The quote I've been living by lately is "Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams". I had so many fears about the competition. I'm afraid of heights, afraid of drowning, afraid of getting hurt, and afraid of not doing the best I could. I faced all of these fears on American Gladiators and I'm so proud of myself for conquering them!

I was the "Arena Host" at Madison Square Garden, so I'm very comfortable with speaking in front of a large crowd. I didn't have to worry about the cameras and all of the interviews before each event- I had so much fun with it and was able to focus on the competition.

So how happy are you with the way things turned out?

I'm not allowed to discuss anything about results, but I'm happy I got the opportunity to compete on the show…it was an awesome experience. It's crazy how everything comes down to the final Eliminator challenge though. They've amped this eliminator up so much since the old show- it's the most challenging and exhausting thing ever! No matter who you are, what your strengths are, etc., anything can happen in those few minutes... One thing I have to say is how hard this competition really is! Everything looks so easy when you're watching it on TV- trust me...it's not! It was the hardest thing I've ever done!

The American Gladiators episode featuring Kim airs Monday, January 28th at 8PM E/PT on NBC

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