After just two seasons on American Ninja Warrior, Rigel Henry has established himself as one of the best competitors on the circuit. He made it to Vegas during his first season, but Rigel really put the Ninja community on notice with his City Finals run in Indianapolis.
After his first city finals buzzer, we caught up with Rigel to talk about his new career, his training and his goals for his second attempt at the Vegas obstacles.
“It’s seriously been the craziest year ever. Cross-country move. Going to the mountains. That was a nice little shake up. I got this crazy new job, which is a sweet deal. I got recruited by this company. They kept bothering me and finally I caved.”
“I like the (obstacles) where you can Donkey Kong through. I’m most nervous probably with the technical ones. Jumping Spider totally got me. I’ve got to get revenge on that one. Every once in a while there’s those ones where you can slip up on some little thing and they get you. That stresses me out. Sometimes. I try not to think about it.”
“A lot of little kids. They’ll be looking at me. They’ll tug on their mom’s sleeve and be like, ‘Hey, that dude’s from Ninja Warrior.’ They’ll come over and talk. It’s pretty cool working with kids. You can say anything and they’ll look at you like, ‘What are you going to do? What are you going to say?’ It’s cool being kind of like a role model.”
“Ninja Warrior puts you in this pattern of conquering an obstacle. Being faced with an obstacle and defeating it. When you first start, it takes multiple attempts. The better you get, you can get to point where you can defeat it on the first try. That’s the goal. In life. It’s a nice little metaphor. To be able to hit an obstacle or roadblock and be able to get over it quickly, versus eventually.
It’s 30-40% physical and 70-60% mental, for sure. You really just have to believe and and tell yourself that you can do it. That you’re as strong as you trained for. That you’re not going to make the mistakes that you’ve seen other people make. Try to stay pretty focused. Keeping that mindset of knowing who you are, that you put the work in, and you’re totally ready to just nail it.”
“It’s funny. The first season I didn’t have any expectations. There was no bar set. So I just did my best and I was pretty happy with how I did. Obviously everyone looks back and wishes they did something different. But overall I was pretty pleased. This year I expect to do better. There’s a little pressure there. If you make a little slip-up, you can beat yourself up. It’s tough. I’m hoping to do better and hit that mountain.”
We will find out just how far Rigel can go in Vegas when the National Finals begin on August 27!