The Untold Truth Of American Ninja Warrior

The Untold Truth Of American Ninja Warrior


On American Ninja Warrior, everyday people (in crazy-fit condition) compete for total victory and a $1 million cash prize. But there’s more to it than that. Here are some of the more obscure facts about the toughest obstacle course on the planet.


It’s a spinoff

That’s right. American Ninja Warrior isn’t all that American. The show actually began in Japan in 1997—then called Sasuke, after a legendary ninja warrior. It proved to be so popular overseas, thanks to the help of the now-defunct G4 network, that producers in the States launched their own version in 2009. The rest is very sweaty, strenuous history.


The course and its regulations are tough as heck

Aside from needing to be in peak physical condition to compete on the course, American Ninja Warrior has two rules by which all contestants must abide. Now, two rules sounds easy enough to follow, but they’re tougher than you’d think. First, you can’t cheat, which means contestants can’t touch anything besides the obstacles. Second, you can’t touch the water. If even so much as your shoelace glances the surface, you’re done. (Tip: if you’re thinking of running the course, invest in some velcro or laceless sneakers.)


Some competitors have height and weight advantages

Every competitor on American Ninja Warrior trains like crazy for a shot at Mount Midoriyama. However, it’s not always the biggest and the strongest who get a chance at ultimate victory. In fact, it’s usually the smaller, quicker contestants who fare better in the competition. On average, athletes who stand between 5′ 8″ and 5′ 10″ and weigh somewhere around the 150-pound mark stand the best chance. There are exceptions, of course, but if you’re over 6 feet tall, you may want to figure out how to shave off a few inches before you go for it.


Not all competitors are in peak condition

While competitors may appear fit, they’re not always in the best of health. For instance, in 2011, contestant Kyle Cochran ran the course while wearing his insulin pump. That’s right, he’s diabetic, and he wound up being one of the more impressive Ninja Warrior hopefuls that season. And he’s not the only one. Athletes with rheumatoid arthritis, lyme disease, and other conditions have all run the course to illustrate these diseases aren’t as debilitating as people believe.


Fans thinks competitors should get cash even if they lose

As most fans know, only those who conquer Mount Midoriyama win any cash on American Ninja Warrior. It’s been a tried and true rule of the competition since day one. However, some viewers disapprove of this rule. For instance, GoFundMe user Adam Martin felt contestant Geoff Britten deserved some cash for being the first person to complete the course. (Ultimately, he didn’t win because Isaac Caldiero later beat his time by three seconds.) To right this wrong, Martin started a crowdfunding campaign to raise $1 million for Britten. As of this writing, it’s only accumulated a little over $13,000.


Competitors fight for justice

Training for American Ninja Warrior can help in your everyday life—even your job, as Sgt. Paul Joyce discovered when he apprehended a perp on August 5, 2015. The suspect attempted to abscond with $50,000 worth of jewelry before Sgt. Joyce was called onto the case. The Santa Fe officer caught the culprit easily, crediting his physical fitness to his training for the show.


Mount Midoriyama is redundant

Pretty much everyone has been calling Mount Midoriyama the wrong name. According to Washington State University Emeritus Professor of English Paul Brians, in Japanese, the suffix -yama means “mount” or “mountain.” Hence, anyone calling it Mount Midoriyama is actually calling it Mount Midori Mountain. The only saving grace is that the Japanese themselves use -san instead of -yama, so they probably never caught on to our error. Still, we should all collectively feel stupid.


Some contestants are supposed to fail

Ever wonder why so few competitors make it through the first round? It’s because the course is planned that way. According to a Men’s Journal article, the obstacles are designed so that only 20 percent of contestants complete the preliminary round. Only the best of the best can make it through to the next stages of the course, while the also-rans can expect to get nothing but wet.


Others are cashing in on the craze

If you want to compete on American Ninja Warrior but don’t have the time to build a practice course in your back yard, you’re in luck. Some shameless folks have taken it upon themselves to cash in on this fad by opening their own Ninja Warrior gyms. For a nominal fee, you can train on possibly copyright-infringing equipment built by people who have no problem cashing in on other people’s creations. You might still wind up in the best shape of your life…as long as these places don’t get hit with cease-and-desist orders.


The Brit edition has courted controversy

Those of us who have followed American Ninja Warrior and its predecessor Sasuke know that someone completing all four courses is rare, but it looks like someone forgot to provide the people of the UK with this nugget of information when they launched their own spinoff. After every single contestant lost the 2015 competition, rumors that the show was fixed began to spread.


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