By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer
The obstacle course for American Ninja Warrior is one of the most physically demanding challenges in the country, testing the very limits of flexibility, muscular strength, and endurance. After all, it’s no small feat becoming mighty and stealthy enough to resemble the legendary warrior monks of ancient Japan! Now, 5-foot and 100-pound gymnast Kacy Catanzaro has become the first ever female contestant to reach the finals, proving that it’s not just the boys who have the upper body strength and focus to pull it off.
The sixth season of American Ninja Warrior airs on NBC and Esquire Network, and is based on the Japanese show Sasuke. The original series is named after Sarutobi Sasuke, a popular fictional ninja in Japanese folklore who was raised by a band of monkeys and developed monkey-like abilities. The tiny 24-year-old Catanzaro certainly displayed monkey-like skill as she pulled, swung, and leapt across bars, rings, and poles at the 2014 Dallas Finals! She’ll now be heading to Las Vegas for the ultimate finals in September.
How did the petite dynamite athlete manage to conquer an obstacle course that has taken down all kinds of muscle-bound men? Besides her intense training at the Alpha Warrior obstacle course gym in San Antonio, Texas, Catanzaro says it’s all about mental willpower. “The course might even be more mental than physical,” says the lady ninja. “Once you get out there you need to control your mind to tell your body what you want to do.”
Because of Catanzaro’s ninja-tastic abilities, sunny attitude, and cute-as-a-button-looks, she’s quickly becoming an internet and TV hero among males and females of all ages. Speaking of heroes, she recently asked the star of the hit show Arrow, Stephen Amell, to work out with her! The show, based on the DC Comics vigilante character Green Arrow, definitely has its share of ninja-like action, so it’s no surprise that Amell tweeted that he’d be down for a joint exercise session!
Recently, at the San Diego Comic-Con 2014 event this past week, Catanzaro paid a visit to an obstacle course based on the popular video game series Assassin’s Creed. The assassins of the games battle across the centuries in a variety of historical settings, leaping across rooftops, swinging from chandeliers, and displaying all kinds of athletic abilities. When she showed up to the fan-friendly course, which is nowhere near as intense as the American Ninja Warrior one, fans cheered wildly for Catanzaro. Wow! Considering how popular DC Comics and Marvel Comics shows and movies are, how much do you want to bet that Catanzaro gets recruited for some heroic action? I know that I, for one, would love to see this gymnast show off her girl power in the next Avengers flick!
Images of obstacle course courtesy of American Ninja Warrior and Esquire Network. Image of Kacy Catanzaro training courtesy of Kacy Catanzaro Facebook.