Ask Allyson Felix when we’ll see her on the American Ninja Warrior course and she’ll heartily laugh before her definitive answer.
“No. I definitely know where my talent lies. And it’s not on a Ninja course. I feel like all the things that make a Ninja great, the upper body strength, the balance. I feel like those aren’t things I’m great at. I’m going to stick to what I know.”
What Allyson knows is track and field, and she knows it well. The 400-meter, 4x400-meter sprinter has nine Olympic medals (six gold, three silvers, no biggie) that she’s accrued over four Olympic games. She’s also a five-time recipient of the Jesse Owens/Jackie Joyner-Kersee award.
Yeah, it’s quite the resumé.
She also recently expanded that resumé to include hosting a digital series. On Ninja Warrior Weekly, Allyson breaks down the action from every episode of American Ninja Warrior.
“I was super excited (to host) because it’s something different for me. I train so much and I’m so engulfed in that world that I was really excited to branch out and have a new experience with a show that I already thought was really great.”
Ninja Warrior Weekly found the perfect combination in selecting Allyson as the host. As a high-level athlete, she can commentate on the action with the keen sense of an analyst. But she’s also a fan of the show. A long-time fan in fact.
“It had to be back around season two, I want to say. I heard about it, and being a fan of all things sports, I was like, ‘This is something different but super cool.’ I wasn’t watching all the time. But I was aware of it and knew what was going on.
It was always one of those shows were I’d be like, ‘Oh, okay,’ and tune in for an episode here or there. I was drawn in because I’m a fan of every sport. This was just something that I hadn’t really seen before.”
Allyson has been fully immersed as season 10 unfolded. We spoke with her just as she was preparing to film a segment reviewing the National Finals, signifying the approaching close of her first season as the host.
“It’s been fun. It’s definitely been a different world. Learning things. I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve enjoyed just being around a lot of stories on the show. It’s such an inspiring show. You watch and you’re so pumped for everyone. You also feel good yourself, as well.”
Like many of the viewers, Allyson is not only blown away by the feats performed on the show, but also by the competitors themselves.
“This season, what resonated with me a lot was the great causes people were running for. Kenny Niemitalo with the kidney donation. Raising awareness for that. To me it’s like, ‘Wow, what a great opportunity to use this platform.’
And Gabe Stewart, the teacher from Marjory Stoneman Douglas. It’s these amazing people who are uplifting their communities. That’s the amazing thing about Ninja Warrior. It’s not just about the competition, but what it does for the people involved and around it. It wouldn’t have mattered if he did go down on the first obstacle. That’s the thing. And also to see the kids who came out to support him. The whole thing was really memorable.”
She can more than relate to the rigorous training and commitment that’s behind every accomplishment.
“I think they’re amazing athletes. I think their skill set is so different from traditional athletics that we look at. It’s amazing. The one thing that really sticks out to me, even over the past seasons, is they have to prepare a lot of times for something they haven’t done before. I think that’s a really impressive thing. As athletes, we train for hours and hours, and we doing what we’re going to be performing. They can prepare on different obstacles, but then there’s the new obstacles. To me that’s really impressive, that they can be ready and adapt themselves to anything.
Just the fact that you look at all these individuals who are taking part, and not everyone looks athletic, and not everyone looks like they would do well. But then some people really impress you. They’ve got these skills you wouldn’t imagine. Then a lot of it is you do see this really athletic person and they do horrible. It’s a whole different skill set that does well.”
As fans know, season 10 has been a whirlwind of action. Allyson shared some of her most memorable moments with us.
“I love all the women, of course. Jesse Labreck. Meagan Martin. I just love the inspiration for young girls. And boys too! It’s really cool that they can see a strong woman and be like, ‘You know that’s really cool and I want to do that too.’ Girl power.”
“Shocking. Isaac Caldiero. It was pumped up that he was coming back. What is he going to do? I think he also has this like confidence about him. You expect him to breeze through. I would say that was shocking. It’s very humbling as well. It doesn’t matter what you’ve accomplished or how much you’ve done. You can’t get ahead of yourself.”
“I think all the City Finals courses were pretty tough. But Dallas, with the Nail Clipper. That was one that stuck out to me. It took down a lot of people. That one was tough.”
Allyson works ahead on Ninja Warrior Weekly, so she knows more about the end of the season than the fans do at this point. But there was one prediction she could share with us.
“I think the theme of the season has been the rookies. Watch out for them. They’re here. Also, anything can happen. Watch out for the newcomers.”
After all those hours studying Ninja Warrior, Allyson must have wanted to take a shot at an obstacle, right? “The Warped Wall. As a runner, I think if anything, that’s probably the only thing I could do. I think I could do that. It would be fun to try that out.”
We pointed out that she did visit Kevin Bull’s Ninja gym to interview him. There was a Warped Wall there...
“I did but I was in my season, so I wasn’t allowed to do anything. I may have to go back.”
As Allyson prepares to close out her first year of Ninja Warrior Weekly, she summed up what a lot of viewers are feeling as well.
“It’s been a great season. It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve seen a lot of great performances. A lot of amazing stories of people over coming, battling. I feel like there’s inspiration for everyone. I’m excited to see what happens!”
You can watch the latest episode of Ninja Warrior Weekly, reviewing the Minneapolis City Finals, below.