Could the first American to beat NBC’s Ninja Warrior course be a woman?
Ex-gymnast Kacy Catanzaro first shattered American Ninja Warrior’s plexiglass ceiling by becoming the first female competitor in six seasons to complete the show’s brutal preliminary obstacle course. Then she completed the show’s near-insane semi-finals course to secure a spot in the upcoming Las Vegas finals. The 24-year-old’s inspiring performance became an online sensation, racking up 8 million views on YouTube alone. (If you’re a woman, it makes you want to go the gym. If you’re a man, it makes you really want to go the gym).
Catanzaro is set to run the national finals course on NBC, which begins its Las Vegas coverage tonight (with repeats airing Tuesdays on Esquire Network). We spoke with the show’s executive producer Kent Weed about the history of female competitors on the show and the delicate issue of the contest’s built-in gender skew — the competition favors men, yet it’s the unrelenting physical challenge of the course that also make the contest uniquely inspiring and has led to Catanzaro becoming a break-out star.