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In my opinion (for how little or much it’s worth), Kacy Catanzaro will forever be the darling of American Ninja Warrior.
For anyone unfamiliar with the summertime NBC show, American Ninja Warrior (ANW) is a sports competition in which competitors (almost exclusively men) attempt to complete a series of obstacle courses – each of increasing difficulty – ultimately hoping to make it to the national finals in Las Vegas, achieve “total victory,” and claim a million-dollar cash prize. For each contestant, the season starts out with a city qualifying course made up of six obstacles. Think agility, balance, speed, grip strength, upper body, legs … the whole gamut. If he or she completes city qualifying, the next stage is the city finals course. After that comes Mount Midoriyama. Hosted in Las Vegas, Mount Midoriyama consists of four stages, the first three of which total 23 obstacles, and the last of which is a 75-foot rope climb that must be completed in 30 seconds or less. Only two competitors in the show’s eight-season history (currently in its ninth season) have beaten the course.
KACY CATANZARO IS FIVE FEET AND 100 POUNDS OF PURE ANW BADASSERY.
Now. Back to Kacy Catanzaro. Kacy Catanzaro is five feet and 100 pounds of pure ANW badassery. In 2014, she became the first woman to ever hit a buzzer, which means she was the first woman to complete a city qualifying course. But she didn’t stop there. A few weeks later, she became the first woman to complete a city finals course. After that, she competed at Mount Midoriyama and made it through the first three obstacles before unfortunately falling on the fourth. Nonetheless, she will live in the record books as the first woman to ever hit an ANW buzzer. No one can take that away from her.
KACY CATANZARO TAUGHT ME TO never give up AND TO BE HUMBLE AF.
Since that 2014 season, Kacy Catanzaro has struggled a bit on the courses. But this is what makes me love her even more. In 2015, she failed on the city qualifying course; and then again in 2016. (In the current ANW season, she didn’t complete city qualifying but she did make it far enough fast enough on the course to advance to city finals, so stay tuned.) But the point is that she keeps coming back. This to me is the embodiment of the ANW spirit – the spirit of a champion. Year after year, she keeps that determination, she keeps moving forward. She won’t take no for an answer and comes out onto the course no holds barred, no apologies, no regrets. And she does it all with grace.
Oh, and did I mention she’s humble? Kacy Catanzaro is humble AF. In an interview with Vulture following her successful 2014 season, the first question asked was, “How does it feel to be so amazing?” Kacy Catanzaro’s response was, “Oh, stop it.” All the feels.
In more recent articles, Kacy Catanzaro touches on her breakup with fellow competitor and business partner, Brent Steffensen – making her just that much more relatable. What’s really great to see is their support for each other on the course despite having ended their romantic relationship. She also opens up about the amount of pressure she's felt after having such a great 2014 run – that she feels as though since then, she has been letting women everywhere down, that she should be doing better for them. Come on!
KACY CATANZARO HAS AN AWESOME WORKOUT ROUTINE.
I recently stumbled across a Glamour article in which Kacy Catanzaro shares her body weight-based “slim-strong” workout. Truth be told (no matter how embarrassing), my favorite way to get excited about going to the gym is by watching the most recent episode or a clip of ANW. Then when I get to the gym, I try to channel my inner “Mighty Kacy” while I’m performing these exercises. Girl power!
One more thing: credit where credit is due. I’m also a huge admirer of ANW fan favorites Michelle Warnky, Jessie Graff, Jesse Labreck, and Megan Martin. Not to mention Joe Moravsky, Brent Steffensen, Flip Rodriguez, Drew Dreschel, Kevin Bull, Geoff Britten, Isaac Caldiero, Ian Dory, and so many more. I could go on and on about the awesomeness of each and every one of these competitors. But that’s for another day, another obsession.
Check out the article on Thought Catalog!
*Photo Credit: ABC News