Ninja Killer: The untimely return of the Hourglass Drop

The Indianapolis city qualifier was one of the most intense emotional roller coaster rides ever encompassed into a two hour show. (Here's my attempt to look at that experience from a numbers perspective). In the end 25 ninjas were able to complete the course (the second most this season) including Meagan Martin, who extended her own record streak and completed her third straight city qualifying course!

So far this season, each course has seen three minor adjustments to city qualifying obstacles making the front half of the city finals even more difficult.

This week:

  • One of the 3 Pokéballs erhm... "Fly Wheels" was removed requiring ninjas to lache even further between and off of them.
  • The support beam in the middle of the Disc Runner was cut in half, resulting in ninjas having to find their balance while awkwardly leaning into the middle of the first disc.
  • On Swinging Spikes ninjas were no longer given two routes, they were forced to use the much less traveled one in city qualifying with stationary spikes spaced further apart (9 spikes in total).

These changes resulted in 8 falls before competitors reached the back half. On its own this is already more than the number of city finalists who fell during city qualifying (suggesting the city qualifying obstacles were more difficult than they were during city qualifying, a positive value according to last week's metric).

But in an even crazier twist, 5 ninjas including the man with the fastest time in qualifying, Lorin Ball, fell before they even reached the newly modified city qualifying obstacles! Resulting in a combined 13 falls on the first half of the course, suggesting these qualifying obstacles were 28% more difficult than they were in qualifying.

Monday, we were reintroduced to the most deadly Ninja Killer from Season 7, Hourglass Drop. Hourglass Drop took out 26 ninjas in Venice qualifier last season, and another 11 during the Venice city finals. In the Venice qualifier only 7 ninjas were able to complete it (21% completion rate), and again, only 10 were able to do so in the city finals (47.6% completion rate).

This made the Hourglass Drop not only the Ninja Killer during the Venice qualifier but also during the Venice city finals! The only obstacle to ever be the Ninja Killer on both city courses.


[Grant McCartney on the Season 7 version of The Hourglass Drop.]

This is the first time an obstacle has appeared on the back half of a city finals course after previously appearing as a front half/city qualifying obstacle. Despite this, the Hourglass Drop was still Monday's Ninja Killer.

It had a completion rate of 50% (8/16). Which is slightly better than how ninjas fared during the Venice city finals, but still one of the more brutal Ninja Killer's this season.


[Jake Murray gets up close and personal with the Season 8 Hourglass Drop, notice how it goes bar, to trampoline, then two "hourglass wedges".]

For the most part the concept was the same as last year's Hourglass Drop. Traverse hourglass shaped wedges, drop from height to a trampoline, use this bounce to catch an hourglass shaped wedge. However, there were some technical adjustments made from last year's Hourglass Drop.

Instead of jumping directly to the first hourglass, ninjas had to drop 11 feet down from a bar onto a trampoline and then use their bounce catch the hourglass. From there ninjas had to traverse two wobbling wedges from below, making a small transfer between the two.


[The Season 7 Hourglass Drop, beneath the words is the trampoline required to get to the next hanging wedge, notice how ninjas start on the first "hourglass", then use the trampoline in the middle to reach the next.]

Whereas last year ninjas started by jumping to the first wedge, traversing to the end of it, then dropping down to a trampoline, and back up to catch the next wedge. Lastly, while we're on the technical changes, this year's "Hourglass Drop" is no longer hourglass shaped, it was really more of a wave.

Still, wide, well-timed hand placement, trampoline precision, hand-eye coordination, and of course, the ability to shimmy yourself across an unstable wedge while hanging beneath it were all required to beat this tricky obstacle.

No wonder this obstacle has given so many ninjas nightmares during the past two seasons!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of American Ninja Warrior Nation's writers or editors, or of NBC.

Trending Discussions