The last time we spoke to Tiana Webberley after the Los Angeles Qualifiers, she made it perfectly clear that she had unfinished business with a certain obstacle: “In my mind, I want to beat myself. Last year I got to that (fifth) obstacle. So my goal was to get past that obstacle, regardless of who had done what before. My goal was to beat that fifth obstacle. As excited and grateful as I am to still move on and stuff. Part of me was still a little bit frustrated at myself but I’m still excited to give it another shot (in the City Finals).”
Instead of giving up after being stuck at the same point for two seasons, Tiana doubled down on the dedication. When she stepped back up to the American Ninja Warrior course for the LA City Finals, Tiana was honed in. With three seasons under her belt, she was ready to claim her moment.
“Tonight, I want to get past that Warped Wall and have some fun on the back half, for sure,” she shared with us before her run.
That is exactly what Tiana did.
The crowd roared as Tiana landed the dismount from the Doorknob Drop, breaking the “curse” of the fifth obstacle that had been haunting her. Watching her hard work over the years has pulled the audience into her journey.
“I’m definitely completely humbled by, one, all of my fans. The fact that I have fans humbles me. I feel like I’m just another athlete working my butt off, trying to get to the ultimate buzzer. It’s encouraging to have people there by your side, supporting you and cheering you on. It definitely helps you keep going.”
As the seasons have progressed, so has Tiana. The training has helped her learn more about herself and what she’s capable of acomplishing. It’s even changed her family.
“Ninja Warrior has helped me a lot with networking and just being less shy. My family. My mom has been diabetic for years and over these past couple of years, from seeing me on Ninja, it has inspired her to be healthier. Do what she can to get her health better. Whether it’s starting to work out, go on walks, eating better. It’s really helped in that area. As a family. My relationship with my mom. We’ve grown a lot. I’m thankful for that.”
While Tiana looked physically strong on the course, it took more than muscles to get through the obstacles. As she worked her way through the Giant Cubes, Tiana had to stay calm and execute a strategy while in full splits over the daunting water.
“A lot of it is mental. I’d definitely say, 85% mental, probably. Maybe even 90%. You could be the strongest person, most agile person out there. But if your mental game is not on, you won’t succeed. If you freeze up on the first obstacle, it’s not going to get you so far. You have to have pretty good strength and physical adaptiveness.”
When she finally gassed out on the Baton Pass, Tiana had plenty to smile about. She wanted to beat the fifth obstacle. She did it. She wanted to pass the Warped Wall. She made it. She turned the back half of the course into her playground, claiming the top spot of the night for female competitors.
It was the best run (so far) of Tiana’s career. Her hard work is clearly paying returns this season and we can’t help but be proud of Tiana’s accomplishments.