Though the NBC series American Ninja Warrior has been on-air for more than a decade, the reality competition has continued to impress viewers with unique and demanding courses, ever-evolving individual obstacles, and mentally demanding elements.
Season 13, which debuted in May 2021, has been unlike any other. In addition to filming during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the season featured "family" teams, the youngest athletes yet, and the introduction of Split Decisions.
On the Aug. 30 episode of the show, the remaining ninjas will complete an intense set of obstacles at the Las Vegas National Finals. In order to continue on in the hopes of winning Season 13, the finalists must make it through Stage 1.
Ahead of the episode, Distractify obtained an exclusive clip, which showcases a few of the all-new challenges.
The 'American Ninja Warrior' Season 13 finals have arrived, and the Stage 1 course includes five new obstacles.
In the exclusive video, host Zuri Hall guides the viewers through the challenges featured in Stage 1. While many of the athletes have trained, in part, by studying past seasons of the show, nothing could have prepared them for these unique hurdles.
"Stage 1 has eight intense obstacles, and five are brand new," Zuri explains.
The first is Slide Surfer, which features three boards that move when weight is applied. The ninjas must use their balancing skills to hop from platform to platform without falling off.
The obstacle is followed by Swinging Blades, two pendulum-like objects moving back and forth in the air. Later, the ninjas must complete the Dipping Birds course, which is another balancing challenge.
After finishing these phases, the ninjas will face their biggest obstacle yet: the Split Decision.
Stage 1 of the Season 13 Finals concludes with a major 'Split Decision.'
While the lowered age requirement garnered a lot of attention in Season 13, another major change for the season was the addition of the Split Decision. In this, when athletes approach certain points in the course, they face a choice between two obstacles.
The competitors must be quick to decide, and their selection can have dire consequences or lead to a huge payoff.
Those completing the Stage 1 course in Las Vegas will have to make, arguably, the most important Split Decision of their lives.
The daunting portion of the Stage 1 round arrives at the end. The eighth hurdle will test even the most accomplished competitor's mental fortitude and physical stamina.
"For the first time at the National Finals, our ninjas will have a Split Decision," Zuri shares in the clip. "With the clock ticking, they can choose the safer but slower Fly Hooks. Or, they can take the High Road. They hit a button, and race to time their jump up to a handle that will carry them to the cargo net. It's a faster, but riskier option."
As if the demanding set of obstacles wasn't difficult enough, the athletes will only have two minutes and 45 seconds to complete the course.
"They better get moving," Zuri concludes, and viewers will have to tune in to find out how the finalists fare with the elaborate Stage 1 obstacles.
American Ninja Warrior is produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions. It airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.