Ryan Stratis started off his 11th season of American Ninja Warrior on an undeniably good note. At the Atlanta Qualifiers, he completed the course, solidifying his return for the City Finals, and made a little bit of history. Ryan is now the first Ninja to ever complete the Mega Wall twice in a row. He did it once in Miami during season 10. Then he did it again at the Atlanta Qualifier.
Ryan has dedicated over a decade of his life to staying in the Ninja Warrior game. That’s got to take a lot of focus and a lot of commitment. We spoke with Ryan before his run to learn more about how he stays ready for each season.
What keeps you coming back year after year?
RS: It’s always the same. Beat all the stages. Hit all the buzzers. Do your best and have a great time while doing it. 11 years into it and my passion hasn’t faded at all. It’s great to see the fire in the young kids coming up. Even with like ANW Jr. I’ve done it for such a long time now, to see it develop to where it’s currently at, it’s just a great honor to be included every year.
I’m still dedicated to the game. There’s no real change. I want everybody to do their best. It’s never been about me. It’s always been about trying to get somebody through. I support everybody along the way. I’m excited to be back home and competing alongside all my East Coast buddies.
What’s one of your favorite memories from all that time?
RS: When season four was done, I ran off. That was when I did my worst. You don’t want the cameras rolling then. Taking the time away from the course to collect myself and my buddies being there. That’s pretty much the spirit of the show. You’ve got your friends. You’re all going through the same struggles. That just helps bring you back into the mix every time. You’re always going to have that support their for you because we’re all trying to do the same thing.
How do you process whatever happens on the course each year?
RS: Being mentally prepared well ahead of time is a huge thing I’ve been able to throw into my game plan more and more. You always hope for the best, plan for the worst. Bad things may happen. You’ve just gotta be happy with how the results go because there is a lot of luck involved. Just worry about the factors that you can control. Give it your all. Shortcomings happen. Try to stay focused on what’s next.
So what do you expect from this season?
RS: Last year, I was calling it out and saying I was going to do the best that I’ve done. Things worked really well for the front half of the season anyway. Same mentality. Same unrelenting resolve. I’m not going to stop just because I’ve had shortcomings in the past. I still intend on pushing all the way through until the end.
Going for the Mega Wall one more time?
RS: Gimme that money! Yeah! I need the money this year to pay off the taxes from last year. Definitely planning on getting the 18-footer again. I want more people up that thing this year.
We’ll next see Ryan on the course when he returns for the Atlanta City Finals in a few weeks.