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American Ninja Warrior competitors answered your questions

Viewers asked the questions and the competitors answered in this first “instant interview.”

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

I really shouldn’t have a byline on this article. It was completely put together by the fans and the competitors of American Ninja Warrior and I love that!

The other day, I decided to experiment with opening a line of communication through our Instagram account. First, I asked fans what question they would ask their favorite Ninja. I received a lot of really thoughtful responses. I selected a few to start with and tossed them out to the Ninjas. There was no requirement to answer, but I received so many responses!

I’ve collected a sampling of those answers below. I think they offered some insightful information to really good questions!

What made you start American Ninja Warrior?

  • Donovan Metoyer: “Ninja Warrior on G4!”
  • Jay Lewis: “I wanted to try all the fun obstacles I saw on TV.”
  • Verdale Benson: “Reminded me of the fitness challenges and obstacles I face in the Army.”
  • Rachel Degutz: “Jessie Graff.”
  • Mike Beadle: “Matt Iseman, Spoke about overcoming obstacles at a conference.”
  • Ryan Meeks: “My son saw it on TV and said, ‘Dad, you could do that!’ 3 years later, we are both on ANW!”
  • Owen Dyer: “I was inspired by my younger brother to get into the sport.”
  • Brian Kretsch: “I love watching SASUKE. Trying to conquer the near impossible course was my first inspiration.”
  • Vance Walker: “Saw it on TV at Luke Milmans’ house and we decided to try it.”
Elizabeth Morris/NBC

What keeps you motivated after a failure?

  • Jay Lewis: “Remember the reason that I do Ninja is to have fun on the course.”
  • Verdale Benson: “I look at each failure as a learning opportunity and step to get me closer to my goals.”
  • Ernesto Perez: “I remind myself that failure is a part of life. Stories are more fulfilling when there is failure.”
  • John Mack: “The need to be better. Getting right back to work keeps (me) motivated.”
  • Allyssa Beird: “The only true failure is to quit! Every fall is a learning opportunity and leaves goals unmet!”
  • Enzo DeFerrari Wilson: “Failure is the motivation!!”
  • Xavier Dantzler: “Think about all the reasons why I’m doing it.”
  • Owen Dyer: “I watch footage of ninjas that I look up to. That makes me want to go after my goals.”
  • Cody Johnston: “Wow! That was fun, let me try that again. Keep training and have fun.”
  • Brian Kretsch: “Self-belief, recognizing how much I’ve grown, and holding on to the original passion for total victory.”
  • Vance Walker: “The goal still isn’t achieved.”
Elizabeth Morris/NBC

How do you handle nerves when you’re struggling on an obstacle?

  • Jay Lewis: “Understand the worst thing that can happen is I fall, which isn’t the end of the world.”
  • Verdale Benson: “I focus on the objective of clearing an obstacle, the nerves go away once I start.”
  • Ernesto Perez: “I take a deep breath. Remind myself that everyone feels the same and push through.”
  • John Mack: “Breathing. Just focusing on something simple like that keeps me focused and calm.”
  • Allyssa Beird: “No nerves on the course! I listen to the vibe of the audience and use it as motivation.”
  • Xavier Dantzler: “Say to myself, ‘This is easy.”
  • Brian Kretsch: “You can only feel one emotion at a time, so I (fill) myself with love and gratitude to block out the nerves.”
  • Vance Walker: “I just try to treat it like stuff I’ve done before.”
Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Think we should do more “instant interviews” like this? Drop into the comments below and ask the questions you want the Ninjas to answer.