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Season 12’s final eight have barely changed since their rookie years

We thought this would be a lot more dramatic than it actually was.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

The top eight competitors on season 12 of American Ninja Warrior have come a long way. They’ve risen from rookies to the literally top of the game. We’ve taken a look back at the last and first times we say these Ninjas on the big stage.

That was the idea behind this article, at least. We thought it would be cool to do a side-by-side comparison of a really recent photo, and the earliest Ninja Warrior photo we could find of each competitor. Kind of a “Look at how much they’ve changed since the first time we saw them!”

Well, that flopped.

It turns out that Season 12’s top eight were all fairly young whippersnappers who haven’t changed too much in the years they’ve been on American Ninja Warrior. We mean, Amir Maik’s “last and first” both took place during season 12. But it’s still fun to look at, so let’s do this anyway.

Daniel Gil

Last time we saw him: He was busy winning Season 12.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

First time we saw him: He was snapping up the fastest completion time in the season seven Houston Qualifiers.

American Ninja Warrior - Season 7 Photo by: Bob Levey/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Austin Gray

Last time we saw him: He came in second place overall for season 12 after a loss to Daniel in the final round of the Power Tower playoffs.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

First time we saw him: He advanced to the Minneapolis City Finals after an unsuccessful bid for the Mega Wall in Qualifiers.

American Ninja Warrior - Season 10 Photo by: Adam Bettcher/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Adam Rayl

Last time we saw him: After beating Lucas Reale to the Power Tower buzzer, he ended his season with a race against Daniel.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

First time we saw him: A fall on the I-Beam Cross in the Los Angeles Qualifiers still moved him on to the City Finals. (This photo is from the City Finals of that year.)

American Ninja Warrior - Season 8 Photo by: Brandon Hickman/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Amir Malik

Last time we saw him: He ended his season in a race with Austin Gray after he beat Jake Murray.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

First time we saw him: Just a few weeks earlier, smiling his way through the Qualifiers.

American Ninja Warrior - Season 12 Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Najee Richardson

Last time we saw him: He was closing out an emotional season 12 with a race against Austin.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

First time we saw him: He endured an early fall in the Pittsburgh Qualifiers of season seven. (The earliest photo we could find of Najee on the course was from season eight.)

American Ninja Warrior - Season 8 Photo by: Mitchell Leff/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Jake Murray

Last time we saw him: After putting up the fastest runs of the season, he ended the year on the Power Tower against Amir Malik.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

First time we saw him: He was kicking off his career by completing the season seven Kansas City Qualifying course.

American Ninja Warrior - Season 7 Photo by: Kyle Rivas/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Jesse Labreck

Last time we saw her: She was making history by being the first woman on the Power Tower, where she faced Daniel.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

First time we saw her: She put up a fight against the Rolling Thunder and advanced to the season eight Philadelphia City Finals.

American Ninja Warrior - Season 8 Photo by: Mitchell Leff/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Lucas Reale

Last time we saw him: He faced Adam Rayl in the season 12 Power Tower playoffs.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

First time we saw him: He might have fallen on the Lightning Bolts in the Philadelphia Qualifiers, but his season wasn’t over.

American Ninja Warrior - Season 10 Photo by: Bill McCay/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images