American Ninja Warrior premiered season 11 with a stacked Los Angeles region. Among the top talent on the course was Kevin Bull, who returned for his sixth season of competition. Kevin has built his Ninja career on quick, confident runs that have reliably moved him into the National Finals.
But his Los Angeles Qualifying run included one more goal than usual this year. Kevin had his sights set on the fastest or second fastest completion time. This would have moved him on to the Power Tower, where he could have earned the Speed Pass to Las Vegas. While he is definitely returning for the City Finals (he completed the course with the third fastest time), he was just shy of David Campbell’s time.
It’s an undeniably strong start to his season. It also calls to mind that the top Ninjas might be reorganizing their run priorities this year. Before Kevin’s time on the course, we talked to him about what motivated him to come back and what he’s aiming for this time around.
“I have always loved sports and competition. But Ninja Warrior, of all the sports that I’ve done, is the absolute most fun. It would be hard not to come back.
American Ninja Warrior has sparked an entirely new athletic movement. To say that I’m an American Ninja Warrior means that I’m embracing this alternative sport, which is different from the traditional sports that I grew up with. I get to be one of the people that’s moving this forward into the main stream, and that’s fantastic.”
“I would like the audience to learn about the importance of persistence. This is my sixth season. I’ve been here quite a few times, still trying to get up the rope at the top of Mount Midoriyama. There’s only two people who’ve ever accomplished that goal of making it all the way through in the 10 seasons that we’ve had the show for. But we keep coming back. We want to get better and prove ourselves. That’s something that you always get to do, whether you make it to the top or not.”
“I’ve never had a season end the way I wanted it to end. That’s the interesting thing about Ninja. You kind of look at it as, ‘Well, there were some good things that happened.’ You have to take that away. But that’s true with anything if you set your goal high enough. A high enough goal is one that’s really difficult to get. That’s the goal that we set every year with Ninja. That’s the key. You want to make sure you stay focused on having that high standard for yourself and you keep working towards it. You’re good enough to try. No matter what.”
“Going for the fastest time is always tricky. You’re playing with fire. You want to make it through no matter what. The faster you go, the higher the risk. But now the prize for the fastest time is much greater than its ever been. I am going to have an element of caution. I don’t want to push it so hard that my season ends early, but I will definitely push it just a little bit more than I would otherwise to try to get that top spot.”
“My expectation is similar to what it’s always been. I want to win. I want to win the competitions that I go into. I want to be the last Ninjas standing. I think it’s important when you go into a competition to set that as the goal and be as prepared as you can to attempt that goal.”
Kevin will have another chance to push his time to the limit when he returns for the Los Angeles City Finals in a few weeks time. He still could experience the Power Tower.