Spoiler alert! Results of the special are included below.
Team Australia tapped a familiar face to take over the role of captain in the American Ninja Warrior USA vs The World competition. Olivia Vivian is a sensation in Australian Ninja Warrior and was part of the 2019 Team Australia line up.
Her performance in 2019’s competition left her with a bit of a bad taste in her mouth. Olivia fell on the first obstacle of Stage Two, and Team Australia walked away in second place. For 2020, the Aussie’s roared back to life with a vengeance.
The team steadily chased Team USA in the points on all three stages. Olivia, herself, finally got her shining moment when she hit the buzzer on Stage One with her typical flair. On Stage Four, Team Australia’s Bryson Klein ripped up the 75-foot rope climb. In doing so, he left Team USA’s Adam Rayl in the dust and snagged the trophy for the team from down under.
We caught up with Olivia via email (the time difference between the US and Australia is REAL, people). She gave us some insight on approaching the competition for the second time, and how it feels to be the USA vs The World champions.
How was your team feeling, as a whole, heading into this year’s competition?
OV: The team this year was amazing, and, knowing what an honour and privilege it is to be invited to Vegas for USA vs The World, the atmosphere was just excited and grateful to represent our country.
Did the team discuss strategy discussed ahead of time?
OV: Yes. I was asked to be team captain and we had to strategise who would do best on what stage this year. We have such a mixed bag of talent this year, each with different personalities as well. It was important for us to acknowledge our strengths and play them out on the course. For example, Matt Tsang is an upper body weapon, so we knew he was made for Stage Three.
You and Bryson Klein were returning members. What advice did you give to your new teammates?
OV: Advice this year was varied from sleep strategies to adapt to a 12 hour timezone difference from Australia, pre warning our teammates that the obstacles are MUCH bigger and higher off the ground than we are used to, and just (telling) them to stay relaxed and not get too nervous.
How did it feel to hit the buzzer on Stage One, after taking an early fall in 2019’s competition?
OV: When I fell last year it was so incredibly heartbreaking for me because I knew I was capable of a buzzer. I was so thankful to be given the opportunity to return and have a shot at redemption, so when I finished Stage One it was a reminder to myself that self belief, persistence and hard work pay off.
What were your favorite/most memorable runs of the night to watch?
OV: I have three.
First has to be watching Drew complete Stage Three in such fantastic form, just knowing how much strength, endurance and ability it takes to do what he did.
Our Aussie lad Josh (O’Sullivan) stacking it on the diving boards. As much as I love Josh and know how capable he is of completing that stage, I am a true sucker for a good fail and I could t stop laughing.
And last but not least, watching Bryson FLY up that rope climb with such consistent and perfect form to bring us home the win. Unbelievable.
Team Australia was in second place on the scoreboard heading into Stage Four. Were you feeling confident your team could still take the championship?
OV: It was hard to say. We knew Bryson had been training the rope for a full year, and he was SO ripped and ready for the challenge. When USA selected Adam for the rope, we didn’t know how fast or ready he was, but we chose not to focus on that and just get behind our man to support him until the end.
There was only one man for the task and that was Bryson. He had been training rope climbs with a weight vest so we knew he was so determined, conditioned and ready for this stage.
How did it feel to watch that climb-off with Adam Rayl?
OV: About 1/3 into the rope climb we just knew Bryson was going to win. Josh and I started bouncing around like kangaroos and couldn’t control our excitement for Bryson and Team Australia. To be honest I stopped watching Adam and just admired Bryson’s flawless technique and strength to appreciate this moment and the hard work that was behind it.
How does it feel to be the reigning USA vs The World Champions?
OV: Incredible. Ninja is so new to Australia so to already supply a team of athletes that can bring home that championships trophy is defiantly exciting. I know this team will cherish this moment forever, and future teams will fight to hold onto top place!