Breaux "Hurricane" Greer by Paul Drinkwater/NBC Photo
While most Olympic hopefuls spent the last few months devoutly focused on training for Beijing, Breaux Greer lived up to his rebellious reputation with a unique form of cross training. The 31-year-old javelin star did a stint on
, beginning tonight and running throughout the remainder of the season (Mondays, 8 pm/ET, NBC).
Greer is an
eight-time national champion
in the javelin and won the bronze medal at last year's world championships, making him a serious threat to reach the podium at the Olympics in August. So why risk injury on something as goofy as
? "The quote that I live my life is, 'I was not here to be a background character in someone else's movie,'" he says. A fan of the original series, the high-strung Greer was eager to jump into events like the Pyramid and Powerball. "The best part of all of this to me is I can beat the hell out of anybody and no police will be involved," he jokes. (We think!) "I'm not holding back on those guys," he says of the contenders who challenge the Gladiators. "You find out who's the best, who's the strongest. Out of every Gladiator I'm gonna be the guy you're scared of."
Producers dubbed him Hurricane, a name he initially protested. "I've been on my own, since I was 13," he says, "I've been making my own decisions my entire life, and no one's ever pulled any reins on me." But he eventually agreed to the handle. "I'm from Louisiana and that whole Hurricane Katrina situation [it makes sense]. And it plays into being a Gladiator because I'm reckless out there."
As for the javelin, Greer heads to Eugene, Oregon, for the
U.S. Olympic Team Trials
in track & field in a few weeks, looking to secure a spot on his third team. (He finished 12th in both Sydney and Athens.) A veteran of numerous surgeries, including a minor procedure on his shoulder in December, Greer thinks he'll be ready to earn one of three spots on the U.S. squad. (The
is Friday, July 4, 11 pm/ET, USA Network; the
are Sunday, July 6, 7 pm/ET, NBC). "I haven't prepared all year for the Olympic Trials," he admits. "I've only prepared for the Olympics, hoping that the Olympic Trials would just fall into place."
Greer has reason to be confident: He's the only man to win a U.S. title in the 21st Century and his American record (299 feet, 6 inches) is nearly 25 feet better than the next best Trials competitor. "It's going to be a fight, I'm not going there just to get on the team, I always go to win," he says. "But I'm trying to peak just for the Olympic Games."