Page 5 - Hawaii Island MidWeek - Apr 7, 2021
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    within a week got a reply to set up an interview video call. The powers that be must have been impressed because Ontai made the cut and flew to Los Angeles to continue the audition process.
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  ‘Zeus’ Ontai Bolts Into Spotlight On ‘Tough as Nails’
       When season two kicked off in February, viewers were introduced to Ontai and the 11 other competitors vying for a chance to win $200,000 and a new Ford F-150 truck. But, unlike other reality shows that thrive on the drama of elimination, Tough as Nails makes its mark by touting the importance of team- work. In this environment, Ontai shines, showing viewers around the nation what the aloha spirit is all about.
   During episode four’s individual challenge, for example, Ontai and the rest of the Tough as Nails cast were tasked with herding sheep into pens. Hilarity (and a bit of frustration) en- sued as each person was seen running around yelling and chasing sheep across the field. To say it wasn’t working would be an understate- ment. Ontai was quick to take a step back and came up with a game plan to benefit everyone. Though technically an individual competition, the Kapolei High graduate realized that every- one needed to work together and stay calm, the latter of which he’s especially well-versed with as a lineman for HECO.
Catch Cyril “Zeus” Ontai III on CBS reality show Tough as Nails on Wednesdays.
           for us to showcase what we can do,” he says. “If you watch from the first challenge up until now, you can see how we grew as a team, and every- one kind of found a role in every challenge.”
 Ontai took the lead, lowering his voice to a calm timbre, and encouraged everyone to make a human wall to guide the sheep — and it worked.
But Ontai even shone in the individual com- petitions, winning the top spot on episode seven after picking a hundred pounds of oranges and separating the produce into 25-pound boxes based on size. It was part brute strength, part tedious, and Ontai powered through with re- silience and the win.
   “I got to represent Hawai‘i and represent linemen,” he says.
“What drove me when I was on the show was that I was representing Hawai‘i, and I needed to make it count,” he says.
While each competitor was jockeying for the top individual prize, it’s not surprising that the team challenges were Ontai’s favor- ite part of the whole show. An avid athlete in high school, he was a standout strong safety/ running back on the Hurricane football team, and his performance on the field earned him a scholarship to the U.S. Naval Academy. Work- ing as part of a team is second nature for the Wai‘anae native.
Filming has wrapped for Tough as Nails sea- son two, but that doesn’t mean Ontai is any less busy. In fact, his future is looking pretty bright and filled with those who light up his life. Upon returning home, he’s been spending a lot of time with wife Meghan, son Jax, 4, and daughter Aiko, 3, all of whom couldn’t be with him while he was on set in California. He also accepted a promotion to be a linemen trainer with HECO.
 From window-washing high-rises and bull- dozing tires to transitioning the Los Angeles FC stadium from a concert venue to soccer field, Tough as Nails team challenges run the gamut and test a variety of skill sets. The forti- tude it takes to accomplish big tasks like those means collaboration is required at every turn.
“My wife, Meghan, is happy about that. I won’t have to do anything dangerous any- more,” he says, with a hint of a smile in his voice.
“Every team challenge was an opportunity
Tune in to Tough as Nails Wednesdays on CBS to see if Ontai gets the job done.

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