As the American Ninja Warrior show continues to strengthen its foothold in pop culture, the sport is quickly taking on a bigger life of its own away from the cameras.
Organizations such as the Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association and the National Ninja League have allowed athletes all over the country to compete without needing to audition for the cameras. This has been going on for years. But now the sport is starting to leave its niche status behind. Traditional sports organizations are beginning to acknowledge the importance of including Ninja-style competitions in their offerings. The latest group to get on board being the State Games of America, a multi-sport amateur event in the style of the Olympics that takes place every other year.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the program, here’s a little more about the State Games.
“State Games provide a motivational goal for all athletes within the state in which they are organized. Recreational and competitive events alike are offered in most states, so whether participants compete for the fun of it or as the first step to their ultimate dream, there’s something for everybody in the State Games. The State Games movement dates back to 1978.”
American Ninja Warrior Maggi Thorne and the UNAA were instrumental in the new partnership with the State Games.
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We are so exciting that we will be adding the Ninja Competition to the 2019 State Games of America!! We had the opportunity to meet and chat about the event at the TEAMs conference this week and look forward to having you join us!! @anwnation @ninjawarrior @nvr_gvup @teamsconference @kicc @ultimate_ninja_athlete #AmericanNinjaWarrior #teamsconference #sga19
Robert Clark, who heads up the UNAA, is excited for the future prospects. “We have been asked to hold a UNAA Ninja competition at ALL the State Games across the country and the State Games of America National Finals. These State Games pull in over 200,000 athletes each year with over 1.2 million spectators! They now want to add Ninja Obstacle competition as one of their sports.”
In fact, there’s already been an inclusion in the State Games. The Nebraska State Games held a Ninja style challenge during their July 2018 competition.
Maggi shared, “After the huge success of the (Nebraska) State Games with 119 athletes signing up in just 2 months and the huge draw it brought in for a crowd, I presented to all of the State Games of America at their symposium in Louisville, and thanks to their amazing open mindedness and support, we have been fully rolling since the first week in October going full force into planning where nearly 20,000 people will come together at Liberty University for the SGA!”
The organization describes their Ninja Challenge as this, “The State Games of America Ninja Challenge is an Ninja Warrior style obstacle competition with obstacles similar to the show including a buzzer to hit if you should defeat the course. Participants won’t know exactly what the course will be until the day of the event. Just like the athletes on the show!
The course is designed by American Ninja Warrior veteran athletes and the Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association for the best ninja experience possible.”
You can learn more about the State Games Ninja Challenge here.
First, the State Games of America. Next, the Olympics. Right, Ninjas?