The Challenge handler T.J. Lavin has hosted the reality competition series since season 11’s The Gauntlet 2 and its spinoffs, Champs vs. Stars, Champs vs. Pros, and All Stars. While the players aren’t competing, Lavin has downtime that he uses to explore the town. He recently shared his favorite memory while filming in an exclusive clip.
T.J. Lavin has hosted since its 11th season
BMX rider T.J. Lavin began hosting The Challenge in its 11th season, The Gauntlet 2 (2008). Before season 11, the show rotated through several hosts.
However, after his debut, Lavin has continued to return for every season, now referred to as the “handler.” Remembered for notably laughing at the players during the challenges and his perpetual hatred for quitters, the host has become a staple of the show.
During the Apr. 15 episode of MTV’s Official Challenge Podcast, Lavin explained he inadvertently became friends with an MTV production executive who asked him about hosting the show.
After asking late BMX legend Dave Mirra, who previously hosted a season, for his blessing, Lavin took the gig. After nailing his first day on the job, the crew offered him the official position, and the former BMX rider has held it for over 10 years.
Lavin on his favorite memory while filming ‘The Challenge’
As the host of The Challenge, Lavin has downtime when the players aren’t competing in missions. In an exclusive scene, he shared that he can connect with the locals by visiting coffee shops and restaurants daily.
The host also opened up about his favorite memory while filming, remembering a time in South Africa when he and the crew gave locals car rides.
Although he didn’t name the season, Lavin is likely talking about season 32’s Final Reckoning, which was filmed in Hermanus. According to the host, during these car rides back and forth from Capetown, they and the locals listened to Bob Marley, which he referred to as “the language of the world.”
Lavin called it the “best experience ever” as they sang the songs “at the top of their lungs” throughout their rides.
He previously competed as a BMX rider
Currently 44-years-old, The Challenge host began riding bikes at the age of 2. After racing until around the age of 15, Lavin got into dirt jumping.
Also a talented high school wrestler, he chose to fully pursue BMX, becoming a professional by 19. From 1995 until 2010, the host performed well in competitions, winning the DK Dirt Circuit, Gravity Games, CFB, a Europe competition, and was crowned “King of Dirt.”
Lavin also won three bronze medals, a silver one, and three gold medals while competing in the X Games. Additionally, he has received sponsorships from major companies such as Monster Energy Drink and S&M Bikes. At one point, the King of Dirt bought an acre of land in his backyard, where he built a BMX track that included several trails and dirt jumps.
In Oct. 2010, the host crashed during the Dew Tour event and sustained injuries that resulted in a medically induced coma. He has since made a full recovery and retired from professional BMX riding. The Challenge 37: Spies, Lies, and Allies airs Wednesdays at 8/7 Central on MTV.
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