ORANGE, NJ — One Orange firefighter has never labeled herself as a quitter and won’t start now — because titans aren’t born, they’re made. Shantal Athill, who is originally from Montclair, has made waves throughout both Orange and Montclair due to her recent appearance on NBC’s hit competition show “The Titan Games.”
She is competing against Courtney Roselle, a motivational speaker from Jersey City. The two women went against each other during the preliminary round, which comprises two challenges, vying for a chance to advance in a head-to-head challenge on Mount Olympus against the reigning champion, Hailey Johnson, in the final round for the women’s Titan title.
Athill has always been into fitness.
“As the daughter of a track coach and health specialist, I’ve been involved in sports and fitness all my life,” Athill said on Aug. 2. “I competed in track and field all the way up until I graduated from college. I then made the transition into personal training, so I could keep up my passion for staying fit.”
Athill’s roots and passions ultimately led her to become a firefighter.
“I’m actually originally from Montclair, but my dad is an Orange native and I worked for the city in both their finance and recreation departments prior to becoming a firefighter,” Athill said. “I made the transition simply because I’ve always envisioned having a career where I could take the things I was passionate about and make a living doing so. I never actually imagined being a firefighter prior to me starting the process, but it was definitely the best decision I’ve ever made.”
It turns out that social media was the gateway to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I was actually messaged by a casting producer for NBC’s ‘The Titan Games’ via Instagram, encouraging me to apply for the show,” Athill said. “I watched the first season and thought it was something I could definitely see myself doing, so I went for it.”
According to Athill, being a firefighter helped prepare her for the show’s challenges.
“As a firefighter, we’re already mentally and physically tough,” Athill said. “The challenges they put before us at ‘The Titan Games’ do just that — test you mentally and physically until there’s nothing left in the tank.”
Though she succumbed to her opponent, Roselle, in both preliminary challenges — the ‘Nuts and Bolts’ and ‘Lunar Impact’ challenges, where competitors displayed brute strength and speed — Athill exhibited explosive strength and unwavering stamina while refusing to give in.
While contemplating which challenge she enjoyed most, Athill also reflected on where she went wrong.
“While both challenges were equally challenging, I thought I would have the upper hand in the ‘Lunar Impact’ challenge, using my speed to get up the ladder first,” Athill said. “Unfortunately, although I reached the top first, I misplaced my footing on the transition onto the platform, allowing my competitor to reach the wall first.”
Even though Athill did not succeed in her attempt to become a Titan, she certainly did not fail, as she was able to experience this incredible opportunity.
“The overall experience was amazing,” Athill said. “It was an opportunity of a lifetime that I beat out tens of thousands of people to do so, and, who knows, maybe they’ll have a redemption season that I can go back and give it another shot.”
NBC’s “The Titan Games” is currently in its second season, airing Monday nights at 8 p.m.