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Jessie Graff and Jesse Labreck give their thoughts ahead of the Women’s Championship

We had a chance to speak to them a few days before the special was recorded in 2020.

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Way back in July of 2020, we were on set in St. Louis for the taping of American Ninja Warrior season 12. Things were certainly different. We were setting up to film just eight episodes with around 150 Ninjas for an abbreviated season. We were also preparing to record the first-ever Women’s Championship, which will finally hit our TVs this coming Sunday, May 9.

In St. Louis, We ran around gathering interviews whenever a spare moment with a Ninja presented itself. With both Jessie Graff and Jesse Labreck, we had just enough time to squeeze in a question about the Women’s Championship. At that point, Jessie and Jesse had been told about the basics of the competition, but they hadn’t seen it come to life yet.

Here are their initial reactions to the American Ninja Warrior Women’s Championship.

Jessie Graff

“I’m excited that I get to do another course. I’m nervous because it always feels weird to me how people compare the women. But I think it’s also going to be really empowering to see how strong all the women are.”

Jesse Labreck

“The second I heard about the women’s episode and being able to compete for $50,000, that’s some pretty good motivation.

We’re (Jesse and fiancé Chris DiGangi) pretty young in where we are in our life. We still have to pay for a wedding, we just bought our house, we want to have a family. So, there are a lot of things coming up and that would be really helpful and really nice. So, that’s something that’s super motivating.

But also, I’m just so goal-oriented, and always very competitive. So, for me, just getting a chance to be on the show is motivating enough to want to train, and be stronger, and be faster, and better than I was the year before.”

We’re just days away from finding out how Jessie, Jesse, and the 10 other incredible competitors do on this special competition.

The American Ninja Warrior Women’s Championship airs on Sunday, May 9 (Mother’s Day), at 7 pm on NBC!