We already know Kendall Coyne can skate around players with ease. But how will she handle the warped wall, super intense monkey bars, and other insane obstacles? We’ll find out tonight because the 2018 Olympic gold medalist competed in the Indianapolis Qualifiers in season 10 of American Ninja Warriors.
You can watch Coyne’s run on NBC at 9/8 p.m.
If you’re not familiar with American Ninja Warrior, it’s a reality show where competitors take on a super crazy version of the obstacle course you probably made in your backyard as a kid. Think Survivor challenges but without the island. Each city has its own obstacles, but there’s always a giant 14-foot 6-inch wall known as the “warped wall” that the Ninjas (that’s what competitors are called) have to scale. Coyne is listed as 5-foot-2. So that wall is 12 inches shy of three Kendall Coynes.
There’s also always water involved, usually under some obstacle you can fall from. “I just really don’t want to fall in the water,” Coyne shared with American Ninja Warrior Nation Site Manager Nikki Lee.
Coyne decided to try the show on the urging of her teammates. “One of my teammates actually recommended that I do this. I know a lot of my teammates have made comments like ‘oh you’d be really good at it,’ so we’ll see if it comes true.”
Though she’s going out there alone, the Northeastern University alumna said the environment still feels similar to hockey. “Its a little different because I’m not in the locker room with my teammates; however, I am surrounded by a bunch of athletes so it is similar. But it’s definitely similar in the sense that you’re about to compete on a pretty big stage.”
As for her preparedness, Coyne does wish she was a little more prepared. After the media tour with Team USA, she hasn’t had a ton of time to prep for various obstacles on the course. “She [Ninja legend Jessie Graff] was really nice and offered me some advice because this is a lot different than hockey. I know I’m in for a pretty rude awakening, but I’m really excited to see how my hockey strength translates to Warrior,” Coyne shared.
She thinks her small stature will both help and hurt her. Some of the obstacles are fairly far apart, but Coyne credits her ability to control her body as one of her strengths.
“First thing, that really inspired me is that men and women are treated equally with American Ninja Warrior. They complete the same obstacle course together. I think that's so inspiring. Secondly, I just wanted to be a part of a different group of athletes and I’m just so inspired by being and seeing and hearing the stories of the Ninjas that make up Indianapolis today,” Coyne said.
With family and friends watching from the stands - and teammates and fans watching on television - Coyne just wants to enjoy the moment of competing. “If I could somehow hit a buzzer [the end point] that would be a dream come true,” she said.
(Big thanks to our friends at American Ninja Warrior Nation for sharing their interview!)