Competing with the Boys

Taryn Mantta, Zeta Pi, Colorado School of Mines
Taryn Mantta, Zeta Pi, Colorado School of Mines

In high school, I used to watch this Japanese show called Sasuke. It had a giant four stage obstacle course that tested people to use nearly every muscle in their body to make it through and, as they called it in the English voiceovers, become a Ninja Warrior. A few years after I watched my first episode of  Sasuke, America made their own version and thus American Ninja Warrior (ANW) was born.

Right now, ANW is in their sixth season and so far, no one has won. There are city qualifying courses, city finals courses, and four stages in Las Vegas that make up the obstacle course, and if no one makes it through all six of these during the season, no one becomes an American Ninja Warrior.

Now this year has been a very special year in ANW; it has become the year of the woman. Prior to this year, no woman had finished the city qualifying course, which is the first course in ANW. Yup, you read that right, not one woman had finished the first course. Men, on the other hand, have made it to stage three in Las Vegas (the fifth course). There are five city courses that send their best 15 competitors to Las Vegas, and in Dallas this year, something magical happened.

Yup, that is a 5’0” woman, doing the previously impossible and being the first woman to finish the course. Watching that for the first time, I was cheering and I was crying. Then about five weeks after that aired, Kacy had her chance at the Dallas finals course.

Then I just kept crying. Plus, it wasn’t only people who watch the show that know about Kacy. It popped up multiple times on my Facebook wall from people sharing this and #mightykacy was trending.

Although Kacy Catanzaro may have the distinct honor of being the first, she wasn’t the only woman to make it through city qualifying this year. Michelle Warnky and Meagan Martin also made it up the warped wall and pressed the button to finish the course. Although Kacy currently is the only woman to finish a city finals course, I have no doubt that more women will next year. Now that it has been proven that women can, they will.

As I write this, I don’t know how Kacy will do on the first stage in Vegas, but I know that no matter what happens, this year on ANW there has been some serious girl power.


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