Janice Sideroudakis is our senior hospital scientist managing the Cytology Laboratory at Nepean Hospital. But in her spare time, she’s been taking on Gladiators in the Channel Ten revival of the popular TV show.
Cytology involves diagnosing patients’ cells under the microscope and is mainly used to screen for cancer.
Janice describes her job at the Nepean Laboratory as incredibly rewarding.
“I’m looking for indications as to whether it’s a benign or malignant process. This work ultimately dictates a patient’s treatment and care plan, and hopefully gets them well sooner,” she says.
“I love collaborating with fellow scientists, pathologists, radiographers, radiologists and the medical care team to ensure our patients receive the best care possible.
“Also, our pathology team here at Nepean Hospital, from the most senior to junior roles, are just an amazing bunch of people, which makes coming to work joyful and fun, despite our serious jobs.”
So what got Janice onto a show like Gladiators?
She watched the show as a teenager and even got to meet one of the original Gladiators – her favourite, Vulcan – at a shopping centre.
“My eldest daughter, Samara (10 years old), encouraged me to try out as she really believes in my fitness and thought I would do well,” Janice explains.
“I have also been in previous reality TV fitness competitions like leading the 3‑person team in “Spartan” in 2018 and a game of chase in “Ultimate Tag” in 2021.
“Although, I did not progress past round 2 in those competitions, due to injuries and pressure, they were both a lot of fun and a great experience. Coming to do a third reality TV fitness competition, I thought I would just enjoy it, try my best and have fun, as I am getting older, and it may be the last time I will ever be selected for such a competition.”
We’re not so sure about that – Janice made it all the way to the grand final of Gladiators and was leading the final race when she fell and was overtaken by her rival contender.
She was one of the smallest contenders on the show – but at 42 is incredibly fit. We asked Janice what she does to keep in shape.
“I exercise 6 days a week, with half an hour of cardio to warm up. Always skipping rope with a mixture of running, rowing and cycling prior to doing heavy weights and finishing off with CrossFit or high-intensity workouts. I have just recently gone back to Jiujitsu again 3 times a week as well.
“I am a highly energetic person and love to train hard and burn all that excess energy. Many people who see me training for the first time have always asked what competition I am training for as they’ve never really seen someone go as hard, every single time.”
At the end of the Gladiators grand finale, Janice was joined by her daughters and husband. She says the support of her family is key.
“My family are my biggest fans and support group and just love seeing me compete generally but are so proud for me to have been selected in this re-make of Gladiators.”
As for new challenges, Janice doesn’t plan to slow down anytime soon.
She says having knee surgery just over a year ago allowed her some downtime to concentrate on completing her Masters in Health Service Management, which is she is just about to finish.
She’s also determined to generate more interest in cytology.
“Cytology is a very niche profession and I plan to teach more students our craft and support emerging cytology scientists.”