Kacy Catanzaro Talks About Her Historic Run on American Ninja Warrior, Also Runs Away With Our Hearts
Which is ironic because she doesn't seem to like running that much.
You might know Ninja Warrior as “the super-intense competition program that used to be better when it directly imported from Japan to G4” (No? Just me?). But this week the American adaptation of the show making headlines because for the first time ever, a woman made it to the finals—and she was incredible at it.
Haven’t seen the footage yet? Do yourself a favor and take a quick break to check it out.
As somebody who was actually watching the entire program as it aired, I can tell you Catanzaro didn’t just “qualify for the next round;” compared to everybody else, she knocked it out of the goddamn park. Out of all 30 contestants that night—and that includes the other 14 people who made it to the finals— she looked the most relaxed and confident, as if she had to climb a salmon ladder on her way to work every day or something. Basically, this lady is my hero now.
Catanzaro sat down with Vulture after the awesome historical run to talk about her experience on the show and what her normal exercise and diet routine has been like while she’s trained for the past two years. When asked why she thinks no other woman has been able to make it this far in either version of the competition (though the original Japanese Sasuke also has a female-only version called Kunoichi), she cited the complex social influences which might convince women they aren’t capable of such amazing feats:
There obviously aren’t as many women that do the show. I think that has a lot to do with it — that women haven’t really been inclined to try out because they don’t think it’s for them. And also just the fact that no woman has done it, it makes it feel unreachable to some women. You know, like, oh, no woman’s ever done it so obviously I can’t do it. Instead of thinking, no woman’s ever done it, I want to be the one to do it, which is the attitude that I took.
“I want to do these things to prove to myself, but like I’ve said before, I also wanted to make these big steps for everyone,” she went on to say. “For all the women out there and for everybody else that thinks that they can’t do something or that they have an excuse. ”
Oh, and she also told 6-foot-3 interviewer Jesse David Fox he might have a shot at a qualifying course—with her help, of course.
You just have to know your body and use it in ways that help you. You might be able to reach things better than I can, but you also have a lot longer of a body to trudge through the obstacles as well. So you have to definitely understand your body — what works for it, what doesn’t — I think we could definitely get you through the quad steps with some training. Me and you, easy.
Can we start a petition to hire Catanzaro as the country’s Pep Talk Laureate or something? She appears to be very good at inspiring confidence in people. Hell, I feel like I could rock the hell out of some quad steps now, and I don’t even know what those are.
Not a single American has ever been able to complete the 80-foot “Mount Midoriyama” challenge (fun fact: the suffix “-yama” means mountain, so American Ninja Warror is literally calling it “Mount Midori Mountain”) in Las Vegas at the end of the tournament. But this time it genuinely feels like Catanzaro has a shot; and even if she doesn’t make it, she’s already made a name for herself and will no doubt be a crowd favorite the next time the competition starts up. We’ll be rooting for her, that’s for sure.
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