Who is Dynamite on Gladiators? Real life of Emily Steel including CrossFit, studies and weightlifting records

The Manchester star's journey to being a TV 'superhero'.
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At just 5ft 5ins tall Manchester’s Gladiators star might be small - but she’s certainly fierce. 

Emily Steel, better known as Dynamite, is this year’s youngest Gladiator at just 21 and wasn’t even born when the original show aired between 1992 and 2000. She’s one of the 16 super-fit stars in the reboot of the 90s classic taking on brave contestants in a range of physical challenges. 

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The fan-favourite event ‘Duel’ was at the Trafford Centre this weekend for those brave enough to rise to the challenge. Others queued to meet Gladiators Diamond, Steel, Fire, Bionic and Dynamite. 

Manchester's Dynamite has become one of the stars of Gladiators. Manchester's Dynamite has become one of the stars of Gladiators.
Manchester's Dynamite has become one of the stars of Gladiators.

The Hale-born star’s journey to becoming a Gladiator centres around CrossFit -  the high-intensity fitness program that incorporates elements from various sports and exercise disciplines including weightlifting, gymnastics, cardiovascular conditioning and bodyweight movements. Dynamite currently holds the under 20s 64kg snatch record at the British age group weightlifting championships and recently competed internationally and became an under 23s weightlifting British record holder.

She told Manchester World: “I was a national swimmer up to the age of 15 and then my swimming coach saw that I had an interest in the gym, so she took me to a CrossFit gym. My CrossFit background has really helped me adapt to all the games, it’s transferable and allows us to do so many different things. We’ve got the strength, the speed, the power, it’s all you need really.” 

The true magic of BBC's Gladiators for many has been its ability to bring families together and Dynamite said that the reception has been amazing, especially from younger viewers who look at them like they are superheroes. Her own childhood superheroes included Rebecca Adlington and Jessica Ennis-Hill - who she recently met when she came to watch the Gladiators in action. 

Emily Steel, aka Gladiators' Dynamite Emily Steel, aka Gladiators' Dynamite
Emily Steel, aka Gladiators' Dynamite
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The 21-year-old said that she was awestruck by Ennis and her multidisciplinary athleticism has inspired her fitness journey. “She’s amazing! I just thought it was so cool that she could do so many different events at once.”

Dynamite is no stranger to juggling lots of different events herself balancing an online coaching service, with studying for a degree in sport and exercise science, and of course being a Gladiator. She said: “It’s a busy schedule but we make it work. I want to be a smart Gladiator.” 

The reboot has been a big hit for the BBC, with the first episode watched by more than six million viewers making it the biggest entertainment launch in the UK since 2017. It was no surprise then to see winding queues by the Trafford Centre’s exhibition space of people young and old hoping to get a pic with a ‘superhuman’ Gladiator. 

The Gladiators semi-finals continue on Saturday, March 23 on BBC One.