Over 2,700 people have attempted to conquer Mount Midoriyama in Japan—only three have been successful. If the previous sentence didn’t make one lick of sense to you, don’t worry. In all likelihood, you are not a modern day ninja.
For those who are familiar, however, Mount Midoriyama is the pinnacle of Sasuke, a 15 years (and running) Japanese televised event that pits 100 competitors against each other in a series of obstacles. Mount Midoriyama, a towering 70-foot steel structure, is the definitive test for the Ninja Warrior, a term that also refers to the international version of Sasuke that airs in 18 countries worldwide.
This week kicks off the fourth season of American Ninja Warrior (ANW), which will begin airing on G4 (the preliminary rounds), eventually culminating on NBC (the preliminary finals and grand finale). Following a successful third season, the show is primed to take the national spotlight this summer amidst a TV schedule flooded with reality singing competitions. It’s time for a reality show that, quite frankly, kicks some ass.
ANW is co-hosted by stand-up comedian Matt Iseman and former Olympic gold medal skier Jonny Moseley. For both guys, it’s been a pleasure and a thrill to watch a wide array of unconventional athletes put their skills on display.
“We’ve seen some world class athletes,” says Iseman, who enters his third season as co-host. “I honestly think it may be the most demanding athletic challenge; I cant think of anything that tests you in terms of strength, agility, endurance, but also, the mental aspect of it. It’s an incredibly demanding sport.”
Moseley, who is no stranger to competition thanks to his experiences in the Olympics and X Games, has been equally impressed.
“It’s so hard to train for; the guys with experience know what to expect, but the obstacles are constantly changing, so you can’t always prepare for it,” Moseley explains. “It’s gotten to the point where people are building obstacles in their backyards, trying to mimic what they see. I’ve been blown away with how obsessed these guys are with their training. They are consumed with trying to defeat the course.”