Season 13 of American Ninja Warrior introduced a batch of invited younger athletes to the competition and it might be one of the most hotly debated changes in the show’s history.
Usually, the age limit to apply to the show is 19. American Ninja Warrior Junior takes athletes ages nine to 14. That leaves a gap where talented Ninjas ages 15-18 have nowhere to go (as far as to broadcast Ninja Warrior competitions).
So this year, the producers gave some of those athletes a call and invited them to the regular competition. And they are killing it out there. The Qualifiers have been dominated by the success of the teens.
A few weeks ago, we put up a poll asking viewers to weigh in on the inclusion of the younger athletes going forward. Should American Ninja Warrior officially lower the age limit and include 15 and up in their age range? The results surprised us because they indicated that the audience is pretty darn split on the subject.
53% of the votes selected yes, that the age limit should be lowered. 47% selected no, that the age limit should remain at 19. That’s a narrow margin of difference.
The comment section for the poll gave some insight into the debate around the subject. (Go read it!) Some viewers don’t like that the show is spending broadcast time focusing on the teens over some of the veterans. They’re concerned about the fairness of having the light, agile teens competing with the adults. They’re concerned about the pressure the young athletes might be under.
And for each of those points, other viewers can and have debated the opposite. This subject genuinely comes down to a matter of pure opinion. And the opinions are aplenty.
At the end of the day, the question of the age limit will be left up to the producers. They’ll study the results of this season and make some choices ahead of season 14. It looks like no matter what they decide, one segment of fans will be pleased, and another will take some time to warm up to choice.