The first-ever American Ninja Warrior Women’s Championship aired on Mother’s Day and we loved every second of it. The goal was to give the women of Ninja time to shine, and they made every moment matter.
You can read a full recap of the episode here.
You can read our follow-up interview with champion Meagan Martin here.
The show was two solid hours of memorable runs. We’ve selected 10 of our favorite moments/themes from the night. Share your favorites with us in the comment section below!
1. Meagan Martin’s emotional Round One buzzer
While always a strong contender, Meagan hadn’t reached a buzzer since season eight. In season 11, she wasn’t able to advance to the National Finals, and then took some less-than-desirable falls in season 12. But Meagan shook it all off for the Women’s Championship. We were caught off guard by how emotional we were while watching her joy and tears at the buzzer.
2. Jesse Labreck getting the HECK outta there
Jesse had a VERY close call on the Sideways. She slipped off the last panel too early and pitched herself towards the landing pad. When the board miraculously tossed her to safety, she didn’t waste a second. Jesse scrambled to the wall with a look of surprise on her face, and bolted to the buzzer like she was scared the water was coming after her.
3. Patty Jenkins showing up for our Wonder Woman, Jessie Graff.
It’s well known at this point that Jessie Graff had a dream come true when she was hired as a stunt professional on Wonder Woman 1984. It was wonderful to see the blockbuster director of the film, Patty Jenkins, make the time to tune in for Jessie’s run, gathering her family to watch. It was a prime example of women supporting women.
Ok... having @PattyJenks watching @JESSIEgraffPWR on #AmericanNinjaWarrior ... that’s so cool pic.twitter.com/UAfGUvQqQA— Debbie Schechter ︽✵︽ (@LoHud_Debbie) May 9, 2021
4. Meagan Martin absolutely gritting it out on the 10-obstacle course.
Meagan took on the 10-obstacle course of round two with a ferocity we haven’t seen before. As she told us in an interview later, she knew that once she was standing at the base of the Spider Trap, she was not going to let this pass her by. Exhausted as she was, Meagan dug deeper than ever before to claim her first extended course buzzer.
5. Mady Howard setting the bar at obstacle nine
Mady made her debut in just season 11, making her one of the new kids on the block. But she handles the competition with the aplomb of a seasoned veteran. She had the second-fastest completion time in round one. Going first in round two, Mady set the bar very high by making it all the way to obstacle nine. The others going after her knew they’d have to give it all to stay in the running.
6. The grit all 12 competitors demonstrated
Less of a “moment” from the night and more of a trend from the night. Every single woman out there came in with a never-say-die attitude. And the results were evident by the thrilling two hours of runs.
7. The total joy and support the competitors showed one another
We saw the women cheering one another on in front of the camera, but it’s important for you to know it was happening behind the camera as well. These women genuinely came into this competition wanting the best for each of them. The disappointment of elimination was quickly replaced with the excitement to cheer on the others.
8. Having the chance to see what women can do on the Power Tower.
In the regular seasons of American Ninja Warrior, the top two competitors from each night race on the Power Tower. Let’s face it, that usually means it's two men. But on this special, we had the chance to see just how women would handle the Power Tower. Masterfully, is the answer, by the way.
9. A final race that did both competitors justice
The final race between Meagan and Jesse was exactly what we wanted to see. They were both in top competitive form. You could not argue that either of them was ill-equipped for this challenge. They both had the chance to showcase their strategies, strengths, and ability to stay focused under pressure. No early falls or blowout head starts. Meagan’s come-from-behind win was a showstopper. And it was Jesse’s lead that caused Meagan to go for broke. Bravo to both.
10. Crowning such an incredibly deserving champion
There was something deeply satisfying about seeing Meagan holding the trophy. The seven-time competitor has set records on the show. She’s experienced the highs and the lows. She won this competition through her own sheer willpower. Obviously, all of the women on this show would make exemplary champions. But we have to say, there’s a little something about seeing Meagan take the title for the first year that feels very justified.