J.C.'s Reviews > Gladiator: A True Story of 'Roids, Rage, and Redemption

Gladiator by Dan Clark a.k.a. Nitro
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Mar 13, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2009-reads, arc, sports

Heroes Get Remembered; but Legends Never Die

We all remember the early nineties for various reasons. One reason could be one of the finest television shows ever syndicated: American Gladiators. One of the biggest stars of the show, Nitro (or Dan Clark), has finally written a memoir on his life, which chronicles his public rise and his personal fall, leaving nothing untouched including the bad and the ugly, and then the road to redemption.

This not a book about American Gladiators. This is a book about a single American Gladiator: Dan Clark. He tells a compelling story of a divided family and the loss of his brother in a tragic accident. From there out the story is laid out, one tragedy after another; most of which are self induced by an obsession with image and success; but mostly with steroids.

Twenty years of rampid steroid abuse is chronicled through GLADIATOR. Clark tells his story in such a wonderful way. It is not overly dark and disgusting, but close enough to get an appreciative understanding of the terrible consequences and side effects of steroids. Clark weaves together the account of his life as a high school football player, Italian Superbowl champion, pro football player (four games, I think), struggling actor, and of course, an American Gladiator. Throughout his struggles, the one constant thing in his life void of positive emotion is steroids. Clark glosses over stories of 'roid rage with friends, surgeries, smuggling steroids, death, sexual escapades, and other relevant topics that were present throughout his twenty year binge on steroids. While the language is rough at times, the story is told in a manner that is not over the top; yet completely engaging.

Nitro was every one's hero during the prime time days of American Gladiators; but maybe for all the wrong reasons. After reading this book, Nitro should be a legend for honestly telling his story about steroid abuse.

Other recommendations about steroids:
* Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams; and,
* Faust's Gold: Inside the East German Doping Machine by Steven Ungerleider and Bill Bradley.

Good reading,

J.Stoner
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