Following the Los Angles City Finals, where 4 ninjas cleared the course, it looked like we would have more City Finals clears than the past two seasons. However, we never saw more than 2 ninjas clear another City Finals course this season. The average of 1.5 clears per city is the lowest average since the split to multiple cities in Season 4.
These low City Final clear rates have made it tough for even the best ninjas to string together consecutive seasons where they cleared the City Finals. Ian Dory is the exception. In Denver, Ian completed his 4th straight City Finals course. The only other City Finals finishers this season who completed their City Finals course last season were: Drew Drechsel, Daniel Gil, and Josh Levin - but Daniel and Drew failed to complete their City Finals course in Season 7, and Josh didn't make his American Ninja Warrior debut until Season 8. For Adam Rayl, Sean Bryan, and Charlie Andrews this was their first ever City Finals completion. This was Jamie Rahn's first since Season 6, and Joe Moravasky was shut out when Philadelphia had 0 City Final finishers last season.
Now if you watched the Denver City Finals you probably heard Matt and Akbar point out that this was Ian's 4th straight City Finals finish. Or maybe you heard them say that Ian has completed every City Finals course he has attempted. I actually want to take that one step further. Ian Dory is now the only competitor to ever complete 4 straight City Finals courses in American Ninja Warrior history.
Five ninjas strung together 3 straight seasons of clearing their City Finals course, but none of those are active streaks. This is a record that will stand for at least 2 more seasons, and even then only Drew, Daniel, and Josh could tie it. That is, if Ian doesn't extend it himself next year.
Getting back into the historical difficulty of this season. As I pointed out above, this season had the fewest City Finals clears in the "Modern Era" (Season 4 and beyond). Couple that with the fewest City Qualifying clears as I mentioned following the Denver City Qualifier. So far this season we've seen the fewest total number of "buzzers hit" since the start of "Modern Era".
If you look at the numbers from Seasons 1-3 and multiple them by 4, the lowest number of "City" courses to be in a season since Season 3, you'll see that this season's 97 buzzers is considerably lower. This is all pretty good evidence, suggesting that this season's "City" courses were the hardest ever.
With the fewest clears of both City Qualifying and City Finals courses, by default, the number of ninjas moving on to the National Finals who failed to complete either their City Qualifier or City Finals course has to be the largest.
In order to display this stat properly I brought in another category. Although it didn't happen this season, in every other year of the "Modern era" at least one ninja has failed to complete their City Qualifier but gone on to complete their City Finals course. Last season it was Grant Clinton, and in Season 7 it was Jeremy Morgan.
In the first 3 seasons before the "Modern Era" every competitor who qualified for the City Finals completed the City Qualifying course, so those year's were not included. Although the trend is not as clear as you would expect, generally as the show has gone on the number of ninjas moving on to the National Finals who failed to complete their City Qualifier has increased. This season, 32 ninjas who failed to get up the Warped Wall in qualifying are moving on the National Finals. A testament to just how difficult this year's "City" courses were.
Meagan Martin cleared the Warped Wall for the 5th time in competition, the most among the women. Jessie Graff has cleared 4, Jesse Labreck has cleared 3, Kacy Catanzaro and Allyssa Beird have each cleared 2.
Brian Arnold managed to hit some part of his head on Rail Runner during both of his runs. He broke his nose in qualifying and bumped the back of his head on it during the City Finals.
In the four years since Brian Arnold reached the Flying Bar, the obstacle has only been attempted 3 other times, all three in Season 7. Two were completions: Isaac Caldiero, and Geoff Britten, Ian Dory failed to complete it.
Lorin Ball has attempted 125 obstacles on American Ninja Warrior, 11th most all time. Even with that pedigree he said the Ninjago roll was, "By far the toughest obstacle he's been on, on the show".
Jesse Lucero fell on the Floating Steps last season, this season he waited 29 days in the Walk-on line and has already completed 12 obstacles this season, with a chance to complete even more!