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  #1  
Old 08-04-2014, 08:38 PM
BeepKillBeep BeepKillBeep is offline
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American Ninja Warrior

Any other fans of this show?

I love watching the athleticism. It is a very different type of athletics than you normally get to see. A very cool mix of parkour, rock climbing and gymnastics.

The big thing I like about this show is that you can cheer for everybody!

I end up yelling at my screen urging the competitors on.

Gooooooooo everybody!
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  #2  
Old 08-04-2014, 09:29 PM
even sven even sven is online now
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I love how faux-serious the commentary is. Makes me crack up every time.
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  #3  
Old 08-04-2014, 09:47 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Cool show, but would be much better if we saw far, far more of people doing the course, and far less of the "profiles" and human interest crap. I wanna see people do the obstacle course, I don't care what they do in their spare time.
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  #4  
Old 08-04-2014, 10:35 PM
BeepKillBeep BeepKillBeep is offline
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I agree. I don't mind the occasional story; however,

(1) They repeat the stories across qualifying, finals and Mt Midoriyama.

(2) Many of the stories aren't that interesting. How many times do I need to know that so-and-so has become a father and hopes their child will be inspired by their father's performance on ANW?

If they saved the stories for the truly incredible it would make it more meaningful.
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  #5  
Old 08-04-2014, 10:36 PM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Mt. Fujiama is actually the eliminator course from Wipeout.
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  #6  
Old 08-05-2014, 06:05 AM
N9IWP N9IWP is offline
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ANW is just about the only reality show I watch. I like it because (I hope) they are really doing the course and no voting BS. I just surf during the profiles.

Obviously they edit it (successful runs are more likely towards the end of the show - I pay less attention during the first half hour)

Brian
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  #7  
Old 08-05-2014, 07:19 AM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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Yeah, it's weird. I've always hated sports but I love this show!
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  #8  
Old 08-05-2014, 07:36 AM
lieu lieu is offline
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Gotta admit that gal from Dallas that made it all the way several nights ago had me glued to the set. She kicked ass.
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  #9  
Old 08-05-2014, 08:45 AM
xizor xizor is offline
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I admit to wanting to sneak onto the set during off-hours and attempt the course myself.
I would undoubtedly fail horribly but want to try anyway.
I might gain more respect for some obstacles that have a high failure rate but don't look that difficult from my couch, like the doorknob bridge.
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  #10  
Old 08-05-2014, 09:39 AM
sachertorte sachertorte is offline
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I think the doorknob one was hugely difficult because of its placement late in the course. I would bet that if the doorknob bridge was first in the course, many more would have passed it.
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  #11  
Old 08-05-2014, 10:00 AM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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The course seems to favor those with upper body strength who are light weight. If you can lift your own body weight with one or both arms for extended periods you can do pretty good. Guys over 200# no matter how cut seem to have problems.
The polar opposite of this would be those strong man competitions where brute strength lifting, pulling, pushing power is needed. The ninja warrior guys would never make it.
It would be nice if the had a competition of a hybrid of these two.
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  #12  
Old 08-05-2014, 10:06 AM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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I watch it now and again. It really is a test of a certain kind of athleticism. I would never watch something like this live, though. FF is your friend.
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  #13  
Old 08-05-2014, 10:13 AM
simster simster is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
The course seems to favor those with upper body strength who are light weight. If you can lift your own body weight with one or both arms for extended periods you can do pretty good. Guys over 200# no matter how cut seem to have problems.
The polar opposite of this would be those strong man competitions where brute strength lifting, pulling, pushing power is needed. The ninja warrior guys would never make it.
It would be nice if the had a competition of a hybrid of these two.
agreed - I'd love to see that show
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  #14  
Old 08-05-2014, 10:40 AM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
The course seems to favor those with upper body strength who are light weight. If you can lift your own body weight with one or both arms for extended periods you can do pretty good. Guys over 200# no matter how cut seem to have problems.
The polar opposite of this would be those strong man competitions where brute strength lifting, pulling, pushing power is needed. The ninja warrior guys would never make it.
It would be nice if the had a competition of a hybrid of these two.
I don't watch the show but I did watch some of the runs of the woman who made it through. Not to take anything away from her, because she is indeed strong and athletic, but I don't know why everyone was making a big deal out of her ability to do the course. They kept saying "She is only 100 lbs!" Well GOOD! If you're only 100# and a GYMNAST then no one should be surprised when you've got the strength and the balance to whip yourself across that course.

Yes women have less upper body strength than men but she is not pulling around a man. She's pulling around a 100# sack of pure bone and muscle.

Once again, kudos for her for being in such amazing shape and having the stamina for the course. But I felt so awkward with all the "she's just a small woman!" gushing going on.
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  #15  
Old 08-05-2014, 11:11 AM
simster simster is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
I don't watch the show but I did watch some of the runs of the woman who made it through. Not to take anything away from her, because she is indeed strong and athletic, but I don't know why everyone was making a big deal out of her ability to do the course. They kept saying "She is only 100 lbs!" Well GOOD! If you're only 100# and a GYMNAST then no one should be surprised when you've got the strength and the balance to whip yourself across that course.

Yes women have less upper body strength than men but she is not pulling around a man. She's pulling around a 100# sack of pure bone and muscle.

Once again, kudos for her for being in such amazing shape and having the stamina for the course. But I felt so awkward with all the "she's just a small woman!" gushing going on.
She's the first woman - among many attempts - to complete the course and get to that stage.

So, the 'smallness' is only one aspect of her hype.
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  #16  
Old 08-05-2014, 11:33 AM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
The course seems to favor those with upper body strength who are light weight. If you can lift your own body weight with one or both arms for extended periods you can do pretty good. Guys over 200# no matter how cut seem to have problems.
The polar opposite of this would be those strong man competitions where brute strength lifting, pulling, pushing power is needed. The ninja warrior guys would never make it.
It would be nice if the had a competition of a hybrid of these two.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
I don't watch the show but I did watch some of the runs of the woman who made it through. Not to take anything away from her, because she is indeed strong and athletic, but I don't know why everyone was making a big deal out of her ability to do the course. They kept saying "She is only 100 lbs!" Well GOOD! If you're only 100# and a GYMNAST then no one should be surprised when you've got the strength and the balance to whip yourself across that course.

Yes women have less upper body strength than men but she is not pulling around a man. She's pulling around a 100# sack of pure bone and muscle.

Once again, kudos for her for being in such amazing shape and having the stamina for the course. But I felt so awkward with all the "she's just a small woman!" gushing going on.
Good points, however, while the obstacles punish those who are heavy, many of them also work against those who have short stature. Those are some where you have to swing or jump across a gap, or prop yourself between two walls. Having a longer reach is an advantage on those.

I used to watch Ninja Warrior on G4 (back when there used to be G4), dubbed versions of the original Japanese show. I always liked it much better than shows like Wipeout. I'd rather see a show that celebrates people who are good at something than one that seems designed just to find different ways for people to fall in mud.
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  #17  
Old 08-05-2014, 11:37 AM
BeepKillBeep BeepKillBeep is offline
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I'd rather see a show that celebrates people who are good at something than one that seems designed just to find different ways for people to fall in mud.
Exactly! That's what I love about the show. It is about pushing past your limits and achieving victory. I got very excited last night when

SPOILER:

Jon Stewart made it up the warped wall. And then beat the course!


What a great moment.

Last edited by BeepKillBeep; 08-05-2014 at 11:37 AM..
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  #18  
Old 08-05-2014, 11:44 AM
Eyebrows 0f Doom Eyebrows 0f Doom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
I don't watch the show but I did watch some of the runs of the woman who made it through. Not to take anything away from her, because she is indeed strong and athletic, but I don't know why everyone was making a big deal out of her ability to do the course. They kept saying "She is only 100 lbs!" Well GOOD! If you're only 100# and a GYMNAST then no one should be surprised when you've got the strength and the balance to whip yourself across that course.

Yes women have less upper body strength than men but she is not pulling around a man. She's pulling around a 100# sack of pure bone and muscle.

Once again, kudos for her for being in such amazing shape and having the stamina for the course. But I felt so awkward with all the "she's just a small woman!" gushing going on.
It's not just that she's only 100 lbs, she's small as well. I think they said she was 5' or 5' 2". In several of the obstacles she had to propel herself across a distance to reach the next bar, where taller people would just be able to reach and grab it. That adds another layer of difficulty.

ETA: I'm excited to see how that rock climber from last night does in the finale. He went through the whole course like it was nothing!

Last edited by Eyebrows 0f Doom; 08-05-2014 at 11:45 AM..
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  #19  
Old 08-05-2014, 12:38 PM
Loach Loach is offline
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The original Japanese show was usually harder. In the American version the clock goes and if there are many that complete the stage only a certain number of the fastest will move on. If enough people don't finish the the fastest longest non-finishers move on. In the Japanese version 3 of the 4 stages had time limits. If you didn't finish on time you were done. IIRC there were a few seasons when no one went past stage 2. Sorry season over. No way an American network will do that.
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  #20  
Old 08-05-2014, 12:49 PM
Trom Trom is offline
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Interesting tidbit:

Commentator Matt Iseman is an licensed physician who quit medicine after his residency to become a stand up comic.

Last edited by Trom; 08-05-2014 at 12:49 PM..
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  #21  
Old 08-05-2014, 01:12 PM
BeepKillBeep BeepKillBeep is offline
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It just goes to show you, you should do what you love and makes you happy and not what society deems the more important job.
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  #22  
Old 08-05-2014, 01:20 PM
psychobunny psychobunny is offline
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The original Japanese show was usually harder. In the American version the clock goes and if there are many that complete the stage only a certain number of the fastest will move on. If enough people don't finish the the fastest longest non-finishers move on. In the Japanese version 3 of the 4 stages had time limits. If you didn't finish on time you were done. IIRC there were a few seasons when no one went past stage 2. Sorry season over. No way an American network will do that.
Actually, this is how it works when they get to Mount Midoriyama. I don't think any American has ever made it past stage 3 and maybe only one even finished stage 2. (And he crapped out in qualifiers this year-but his GF is still in it as noted above-GO KACY!). Once they get to Vegas, the time limits kick in.
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  #23  
Old 08-05-2014, 01:45 PM
Shalmanese Shalmanese is offline
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I know it's trivial but one thing I cannot get over bugging me is that the course is literally translated as "Mount Green Mountain". Either "Mount Midori" or "Midoriyama" would be fine but "Mount Midoriyama" hurts my brain.
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  #24  
Old 08-05-2014, 03:36 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
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Always harder, you mean.

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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
The original Japanese show was usually harder.
Yeah, I used to watch the Japanese show. I bet if those guys watched the American version they would wet their pants laughing.
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  #25  
Old 08-05-2014, 04:14 PM
Hamlet Hamlet is offline
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My kids and I used to love watching the double feature of the Japanese original (Sasuke) and Ultimate Banzuke, another Japanese athletic show. I agree with the posters here who want less stories and more competition, that's one of the great things about the original. They break it up with some interesting characters trying the course, and some of the competitors' stories, but nowhere near as tedious as the American show. I miss those shows.

We just started watching a couple episodes of the American version and like it well enough, but it seems to take forever to get to the competition part. We'll give it a few more episodes though, just because it is interesting.
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  #26  
Old 08-05-2014, 05:06 PM
amaguri amaguri is offline
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I generally enjoy this show, but I can watch 90% of it via DVR on 2x or even 3x speed and not feel like I've missed anything.
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  #27  
Old 08-05-2014, 08:11 PM
N9IWP N9IWP is offline
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They did a Americans vs Japanese dhow - even though some on the Japanese team made it all the way to the end the Americans won.

something any given Sunday something

For the finals some stages are timed

Brian

Last edited by N9IWP; 08-05-2014 at 08:11 PM..
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  #28  
Old 08-05-2014, 08:34 PM
ekweizn ekweizn is offline
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Originally Posted by psychobunny View Post
Actually, this is how it works when they get to Mount Midoriyama. I don't think any American has ever made it past stage 3 and maybe only one even finished stage 2. (And he crapped out in qualifiers this year-but his GF is still in it as noted above-GO KACY!). Once they get to Vegas, the time limits kick in.
Actually, Kane Kosugi (Japanese-American) made it to the Final Stage of season 8 of the original Japanese version (Ninja Warrior/Sasuke). No one has made it to the Final Stage of ANW, although Brian Arnold fell on the last obstacle of stage 3.

The major differences between Sasuke and ANW:
  1. Sasuke was held twice a year, while ANW is once per year.
  2. Sasuke was held in one day with 100 competitors total, while ANW has regional qualifiers, and the Vegas finals ("Mt. Midoriyama") is held over two nights.
  3. Sasuke was broadcast as a TV special in one day, while ANW is stretched out over many weeks.

I saw Makoto Nagano and Yuuji Urushihara (the last two Sasuke grand champions) test run the ANW qualifying course in 2010. It was obvious that, back then, the ANW course was sized for American competitors, as Nagano was not even close to reaching one of the obstacles that many of the competitors had no trouble with. It's not surprising that the Japanese guys got crushed by the Americans on the Vegas course.
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  #29  
Old 08-06-2014, 12:38 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shalmanese View Post
I know it's trivial but one thing I cannot get over bugging me is that the course is literally translated as "Mount Green Mountain". Either "Mount Midori" or "Midoriyama" would be fine but "Mount Midoriyama" hurts my brain.
This is I think inspired by the recent tendency of people to refer to Mount Fuji as "Mount Fujiyama," which is stupid, essentially the equivalent of saying "Mount Mount Fuji."
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  #30  
Old 08-06-2014, 01:57 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
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I felt very sorry for the small Asian guy this week (I think his name was Yan- can't google it right now) because he was done in by his armspan. Had his arms been as long as the other contestants he'd probably have easily cleared the rails/rings.

They went out of their way to illustrate just how "old" 52 is. Actual examples:

"That's older than Lincoln was when he became president! That's older than Wilford Brimley was on COCOON! That's 17 years older than me!"

Yeah, we get it. 52. It's older than most contestants. It's not "old for the Earth". Yes, it's impressive a 52 year old guy did it, but it's impressive when anybody does it.

I always like it when the ultra gimmicky guys fail, like the one in the diaper and the baby bonnet. The guy who was shirtless and in tight jeans wasn't quite as gimmicky but I can't imagine that's a good outfit to do the course in.

I think I'm going to try out next year. I just need to lose a pound or 50 and maybe go to the gym. I've already got my hat picked out, and that's the hard part.
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  #31  
Old 09-15-2014, 10:15 PM
N9IWP N9IWP is offline
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Disappointed only two made it to stage 3, and neither finished.

But tonight's USA vs the world (ok, Japan and Europe) was interesting, where 4 people made it through stage 3 (including Brian Arnold).

On stage 4 (a 70ft rope climb) Europe beat the US by 0.3 seconds - it just so happens that the US guy missed the buzzer the 1st time he tried to hit it, and that was likely the difference.

Brian
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  #32  
Old 09-15-2014, 10:18 PM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is online now
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Thought tonight's was a lot of fun. I really do enjoy this show.
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  #33  
Old 09-15-2014, 10:50 PM
friedo friedo is offline
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Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
Cool show, but would be much better if we saw far, far more of people doing the course, and far less of the "profiles" and human interest crap. I wanna see people do the obstacle course, I don't care what they do in their spare time.
Yep. It's the same feel-good filler garbage that ruined the reboot of American Gladiators. They even went so far as to cut actual competition events from the show and say "watch this fun action-packed gladiatorial combat event on our website so we can tell you more about this week's competitor's grandma's struggle with diabetes!"
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  #34  
Old 09-16-2014, 03:04 AM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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I enjoy the show from the standpoint of watching the competitors try to run the course. I am amazed and stunned by some of the submission videos. I get excited and root and cheer for them to do well.

However, the editing and pacing of the show is dreadful. First off, I HATE previews. At least they don't show parts of the person's actual run in their previews. But they offset that by showing the profiles, and they're so damn repetitive. They run snippets and comments as previews, then run them in full before the chosen competitors.

What makes this especially annoying is they take all the time to profile this one competitor who may or may not do well, then we go to commercial, and when we return, they montage three others who did just as well. Why didn't they deserve to have their run shown?

That part annoys me especially because they don't just use that in the qualifying rounds. No, they were still running "while you were away" during the stage 1 Finals. GAH! I think if someone gets all the way to Finals, they should get their run fully televised.

(What's worse, during the America vs the World segment this week, several of the Japanese competitors got this treatment. Yes, they struggled on the run and went out early, but come on.)

And then there's Matt Iseman's perpetual grunting. God that gets old. "Coming up - I'm going to grunt my way through this whole intro package."


Quote:
Originally Posted by ZipperJJ View Post
Once again, kudos for her for being in such amazing shape and having the stamina for the course. But I felt so awkward with all the "she's just a small woman!" gushing going on.
Lots of the events are upper body intensive. Women in general are not as capable in that category. Plus, she's only 5 feet tall. Size is definitely an issue on some of the obstacles. There's reach elements. There's the jumping spider, where you have to jump off a trampoline and do the splits and wedge between two walls. The walls start wider and get narrower the deeper you go. If you are short, you have to jump farther to be able to reach the walls. One of the obstacles she crossed was a series of vertical poles they had to climb between that were spaced different amounts. One gap was 6 feet across. She had to jump where other competitors could reach out and grab it.

Yes, she's a gymnast who only weighs 100 lbs, so she's strong and well-coordinated. Compare male gym events vs female gym events, the men do upper body intensive events like parallel bars, pommel horse, iron rings. Girls do balance beam. Yes, they do uneven bars, which is their most upper body intensive element, but the guys program is more heavily slanted that way.

Even on events they both do, vault and floor, there are differences. Mens floor exercise is silent and is going to have pommel horse style routines on the mats. Ladies program is set to music. And vaulting, the ladies are almost always not getting as big of air. It was a huge deal in the last Olympics where one of the US competitor girls was a vault specialist, and could get huge air like the guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loach View Post
The original Japanese show was usually harder. In the American version the clock goes and if there are many that complete the stage only a certain number of the fastest will move on. If enough people don't finish the the fastest longest non-finishers move on. In the Japanese version 3 of the 4 stages had time limits. If you didn't finish on time you were done. IIRC there were a few seasons when no one went past stage 2. Sorry season over. No way an American network will do that.
You're missing the elements in the US version. They have qualifying rounds from 5 regions around the US, to weed down the competitors to the 100 entrants that get invited to Vegas. In the qualifying rounds, there is no time limit and they take the top 30 and then 15 competitors, whether they finish or not. They do take all finishers.

Once they get to Vegas, it's run like the Japanese version. There are time limits on some stages, and if you fail you are eliminated.

This has roots in the early years of the American Ninja Warrior program. When it originated, it was preparing Americans and taking them to Japan for the competition. The early stages were basically training rounds. They didn't really count except as a way to weed down the competitors.

And sorry, you are wrong, they've been running the show with Mt Midoriyama in Vegas for 3 years now, and nobody has made it past stage 3 until the special showdown this week. So an American network is doing it.

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I always like it when the ultra gimmicky guys fail, like the one in the diaper and the baby bonnet. The guy who was shirtless and in tight jeans wasn't quite as gimmicky but I can't imagine that's a good outfit to do the course in.
Yeah, certain ones I have to root against. The guy in a diaper is one. Any grown man dressed in a diaper gets points against him. (America's Got Talent had it happen this season, too. Some singer guy came out and sang really well, wearing a diaper. He got through the first round, but I would have made a strong comment against the diaper.)

I also want for people with droopy crotched pants to trip on those saggy pants. I keep rooting for them to fail because of their pants.

The guy in the loincloth almost went out because the floppy tails nearly dragged the water.
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  #35  
Old 09-16-2014, 07:42 AM
Cubsfan Cubsfan is offline
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Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
Cool show, but would be much better if we saw far, far more of people doing the course, and far less of the "profiles" and human interest crap. I wanna see people do the obstacle course, I don't care what they do in their spare time.
This. It makes the show almost unwatchable for me.

This is why the Japanese version is far superior. It's basically an hour of "next guy up". Without all the stupid stories. It's been a while since I watched though but I also remember the japanese show had people wearing funny costumes sometimes or am I thinking of another show?


ETA I used to LOVE American Gladiators. I used to stay up all night watching it on TBS when I would sleep over my gramps house.

Last edited by Cubsfan; 09-16-2014 at 07:43 AM..
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  #36  
Old 09-16-2014, 11:07 AM
Boggette Boggette is offline
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I miss the characters from the original. Bring back the Octopus Man!
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  #37  
Old 09-16-2014, 12:12 PM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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Originally Posted by Cubsfan View Post
This. It makes the show almost unwatchable for me.

This is why the Japanese version is far superior. It's basically an hour of "next guy up". Without all the stupid stories. It's been a while since I watched though but I also remember the japanese show had people wearing funny costumes sometimes or am I thinking of another show?
Yeah, that was the show. There was Tako-san, the tiny old guy who always dressed in white shorts and tank top and had a boiled octopus in one hand before he started the race. There were other guys who ran the course in their work uniforms, e.g. Shingo Yamamoto in his gas station attendant outfit, or firefighters in their Japanese firefighter orange pants. Or that oddball artist fellow who was strapped into a hang glider at the start line, jumping out of the harness a few seconds before the start horn.
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  #38  
Old 09-16-2014, 01:54 PM
MaxTheVool MaxTheVool is online now
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I agree that the human-interest stories are a bit silly, but they don't overly interfere with what is really a genuinely gripping athletic competition. In USA vs. the World we had...

-The continued, and fairly inexplicable, woes of the Japanese team on stages 1 and 2
-The fastest time ever on stage 1 set, and then CRUSHED
-The French guy doing a belly flop out of the rope grasper on his way to a stunningly fast time on stage 2
-FOUR people finishing stage 3, which had never before been finished, including Brian Arnold shaking off his demons to force a tiebreak, and two japanese guys finishing it for national pride, but neither one winning a point
-0.3 seconds determining the winner
-The American crowd cheering on EVERYONE, including the Europeans and Japanese

What's not to love?

(My favorite competitor is Isaac Caldiero. I love how completely mellow he always is. He clearly tries really hard, but then at the end of the day, win or lose, he just seems like his attitude is "well, THAT happened, now back to my trailer-full-of-pot-smoke".)
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  #39  
Old 09-16-2014, 01:59 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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I'll watch it from time to time. It looks really cheesy at first, but it takes some actual athleticism to get thru that course! Much better than average reality show.

But I definitely only watch this recorded so I can skip thru the nonsense and commercials.
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  #40  
Old 09-16-2014, 02:32 PM
Cubsfan Cubsfan is offline
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I think the show would be more compelling if they set up 2 courses next to each other for stage 1 and had 2 people going at once, race style. The way it's set up now they give you a 10min backstory then you watch the guy fall off the first obstacle in .02 seconds.

I also enjoyed the "water" in the Japanese version better. Just holes dug in the ground and filled with water. Kinda dirty and muddy. Seemed a bit more perilous. Here we have padded pools filled with mineral water or something.
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  #41  
Old 09-16-2014, 04:06 PM
BeepKillBeep BeepKillBeep is offline
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The USA vs the World was awesome!!!

As mentioned above, a stage 1 record set and then crushed by 10 seconds! Nearly under 1 minute. Amazing.

As per my OP, what I love about this show is that you can cheer for everybody and fans of the sport seem to get that. It is all about personal total victory even when it is a team sport. Love it!

Cheers to Brian Arnold! Maybe next season we'll have an American Ninja Warrior!
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  #42  
Old 09-18-2014, 12:33 AM
DKW DKW is offline
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Recorded this, but won't have access to the TV for any appreciable amount of time for a while, so for now, just addressing others' comments.

Oh, and might I add...the thing I absolutely, absolutely looooove about this show is how amazingly, awesomely cool everyone is. Think about it. When three women made it past the 1st round of prelims, everyone cheered, and a few cheered like crazy. When Kacy Katanzaro (there's a name I'm going to remember for a while!) cleared the 2nd round of prelims, the crowd celebrated like she won the WNBA title. When Jon Stewart made it to the top, they were inspired. When Jason "Flip" Rodriguez and Drew Dreschel took their inexplicable plunges, they wrere sobered. NO sexim, NO racism, NO bigotry, NO violence in the stands, NO heckling, NO bum-rushing the course, NO insane stunts (I'll give Brent Steffenson's climb a pass since he wasn't endangering anyone else). How many bigtime sports can you name that are like this? And every time the camera was on a competitor, he was a gentleman, or a cheerleader, or just glad to be there. The worst it ever got was that he took failure too hard and was in tears. And no drug abuse, domestic violence, shootings, stabbings, drunkenness, none of the nightmare-inducing embarrassments that have become routine in our major sports. Look at how much crap Zoe Quinn got for making a freaking freeware game, and Megan Martin turns a wildcard berth into yet another milestone and everyone celebrates.

BeepKillBeep - Yeah, love this show, easily my favorite reality TV show ever (and if NBC treated it like a serious sport, that would make it even better). After following it this far, however, I don't really see how parkour figures into it. Oh, sure, having a parkour background helps in certain areas (I think the biggest advantages are Warped Wall and Half Pipe Attack), but for the most part athleticism takes a back seat to raw power, speed, tenacity, and of course an unshakable death grip. Parkour was hardly mentioned this season; it appears to be (sadly) being phased out.

Hampshire - I don't get all the comparisons to Wipeout; pretty much the only thing they have in common is water landings. Stylistically, Wipeout owes a lot more to Double Dare, American Gladiators, Grudge Match, and similar prop-based contests than Sasuke. The main difference is that in Sasuke (and its short-lived spinoff Kunoichi), absolute perfection is demanded from start to finish, whereas on something like Wipeout, everyone's expected to mess up frequently, and the winner is simply the one who doesn't mess up quite as frequently as the competition.

N9IWP - The only "voting" occurs when the hosts choose the 15 wildcards. There's been a little grumbling over the existence of wildcards, but the bottom line is that they improve ratings and encourage the bubble contestants to give their all, so they're not going anywhere. I don't recall any egregiously bad choices, so I don't think you have to worry.

As for USA vs. Japan, it looked to me that the Japanese contingent was just plain unprepared. I almost couldn't believe how badly they screwed up fairly routine things like Salmon Ladder and Giant Cycle. I can't begin to say why.

Shalmanese - "Mount Midoriyama" is just one of those Americanisms. I'm sure someone at NBC is well aware of the redundancy, but once they repeat it enough times, there's no changing it.

Loach - ANW4 very nearly had no one make it past Stage 2. The only one who cleared it was Brent Steffensen, and he hit the buzzer with three hundredths of a second on the clock. NBC will be generous in the preliminary stages (don't forget the wildcards), but once it gets to Vegas, it's 4 stages and no mercy. Absolutely NBC wants a Stage 3 every time, but it's earned, not given. I don't see how this makes ANW a lot easier. The only real difference is that the joke entrants and goofballs get taken out before Stage 1 rather than by it.

gatopescado - After USA vs. Japan and the recently-concluded USA vs. The World, if they were laughing before, I somehow doubt they are now. Japan, for whatever reason, just can't compete on an international stage.

MaxTheVool - Totally agree on Caldiero. He just sounds like the ideal jock, an incredibly decent guy who's great in front of the camera and just happens to be an absolute beast on the course. If anyone deserves to take the half-million, it's him.
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  #43  
Old 09-18-2014, 11:25 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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Originally Posted by DKW View Post
Oh, and might I add...the thing I absolutely, absolutely looooove about this show is how amazingly, awesomely cool everyone is. Think about it. When three women made it past the 1st round of prelims, everyone cheered, and a few cheered like crazy. When Kacy Katanzaro (there's a name I'm going to remember for a while!) cleared the 2nd round of prelims, the crowd celebrated like she won the WNBA title. When Jon Stewart made it to the top, they were inspired. When Jason "Flip" Rodriguez and Drew Dreschel took their inexplicable plunges, they wrere sobered. NO sexim, NO racism, NO bigotry, NO violence in the stands, NO heckling, NO bum-rushing the course, NO insane stunts
Yes, everyone's attitudes are great. Even the guy who stopped and climbed off the course on the first obstacle, because he accidentally violated a rule. He didn't wait to see if the judges caught it, he knew he was wrong and he admitted it and quit. He got my respect.


Quote:
(I'll give Brent Steffenson's climb a pass since he wasn't endangering anyone else).
What do you mean?


Quote:
After following it this far, however, I don't really see how parkour figures into it. Oh, sure, having a parkour background helps in certain areas (I think the biggest advantages are Warped Wall and Half Pipe Attack), but for the most part athleticism takes a back seat to raw power, speed, tenacity, and of course an unshakable death grip. Parkour was hardly mentioned this season; it appears to be (sadly) being phased out.
Parkour was used by the captain of the European team that beat the Americans. When he went after the warped wall, he did his run up off the beams from the rope landing, rather than getting onto the course and backing up the short curve. That saved him several seconds, and contributed to his smashing the stage time record.

Parkour helps with knowing your foot placement and balance. It helps with leaping. The rock climbers tend to have more grip strength because they train that, but the parkour guys do better on jumping spider and the like.

Except, of course, now the top athletes train on obstacle courses, so you don't have straight rock climbers or straight parkour guys, you have obstacle trainers. Yes, they still do their chosen sports, but there's more crossover experience going on.
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  #44  
Old 09-19-2014, 12:43 AM
Ellis Dee Ellis Dee is offline
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What do you mean?
This.
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  #45  
Old 09-19-2014, 05:04 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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Oh, that. Shoot, that's just climbing a ladder. That's much less risky than plenty of the parkour moves all over the submission videos. Like climbing an Ibeam column in a gymnasium 50 feet to the ceiling, hand walking like the Ultimate Cliffhanger off bridges over highways, doing handstands on the edges of building roofs, etc.
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  #46  
Old 09-20-2014, 04:31 AM
DKW DKW is offline
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Yeah, but it's a 30-foot climb on a surface that wasn't intended to be climbed, and if anything goes wrong (an inopportune spot of oil, a missed placement, an electrocuted beam, what have you), there's nothing below him but the cold, hard ground. Okay, in retrospect I guess he knew what he was doing and it was pretty safe, but you'd have to think some folks were reeeeally hoping he wouldn't kill the mood in the worst possible way.

I finally saw the whole USA vs. The World, and I'm even going to do a full recap later...it was just too damn amazing not to. Yes, that was an incredible run, I don't doubt that for a moment. But the upper body/raw power disciplines come into play pretty early, and by Stage 3 they take complete control. Heck, Stage 2 got a whole lot more upper-body intensive when they took out Balance Tank and replaced Slider Drop with Rope Jungle. Parkour specialist moving like the wind and looking amazing? Yes. Parkour specialist getting past Ultimate Cliffhanger? No. I actually think that Wipeout would be a better fit, since it demands quickness and body control a lot more than Darth Vader hands.

Do agree with your point on cross-training and how that seems to be the key to success now. You can actually draw a parallel with the evolution of mixed martial arts in America, how at first everyone only knew one thing and the winner was the guy who did the thing that prevented the others from doing their things, and then everyone eventually adapted and took what worked from the other things, to the point where MMA is virtually a discipline its own right. And while this admittedly takes out some of the thrill, if you care about the future of the sport, this has to be a positive development.
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  #47  
Old 09-21-2014, 04:57 PM
DKW DKW is offline
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As promised!

USA vs. The World

Team USA: Joe Moravsky, Elet Hall, Paul Kasemir, Brian Arnold, Travis Rosen
Team Europe: Vadym Kuvakin, Tim Shieff, Miska Sutela, Stefano Ghisolfi, Sean McColl
Team Japan: Shingo Yamamoto, Hitoshi Kanno, Kazuma Asa, Yuusuke Morimoto, Ryo Matachi

Each Stage has total of three head-to-head-to-head runs. The farthest distance on each run wins; if more than one go the same distance, the fastest time wins. Stage 1 is worth 1 point per win, Stage 2 2 points, and Stage 3 3 points. If there’s a tie, it goes to a sudden death playoff on Stage 4.

Stage 1: Piston Road, Giant Ring, Silk Slider, Jumping Spider, Half Pipe Attack, Warped Wall, Spinning Bridge, Final Climb

Round 1: Moravsky, Yamamoto, Kuvakin
Joe Moravsky, who made it to Stage 3 two years in a row and made it farther than anyone in the recently-completed 6th season, wants to prove that he’s no fluke. Except for a little slip on Jumping Spider, he’s just about flawless, completing the course in a time of 1:12.72, the fastest Stage 1 time ever. For now.
As Shingo Yamamoto gets to the Jumping Spider, Matt Iseman says that he’s “faced it 8 times and failed it only once”. Ever heard a basketball commentator call someone an “excellent free throw shooter”, and he proceeds to clank both free throws? Well, me neither, actually, but this reminded me of that; Yamamoto’s left foot is too far back and he takes the plunge.
Vadym Kuvakin, the Ukrainian acrobat, does his best and has what by any account is an excellent run, but just can’t keep up with Moravsky’s blistering pace; his clock runs out as he reaches the net.
USA 1

Round 2: Kanno, Shieff, Hall
A strange effort from Hitoshi Kanno. He sets a brisk pace through 5 obstacles (looking very solid on Jumping Spider)...and then slams into the wall. Literally, as he fails on Warped Wall three times, but on the fourth attempt...doesn’t even get close. He quietly bows out, something I didn’t imagine any of this contingent doing.
In the preview, Tim “Live Wire” Shieff boasted that he’d set an unbelievable time. Well, guess what...he does! (I know, right?) An absolutely blazing run, with the highlight being skipping over the freaking water at the approach to Warped Wall, cutting a hard left and going straight up the wall...and making it! (Boy, talk about night and day...) The time: 1:02.70, less than half the time normally allowed in Stage 1, and crushing the record Moravsky set just minutes ago. Ouch.
Elet Hall has been one of the strongest competitors we’ve seen, but outdoing Shieff’s Usain Bolt moment is just way too freaking much to ask. Whether due to pressure or simply going too fast, he splashes down on Silk Slider.
USA 1, Europe 1

Round 3: Kasemir, Sutela, Asa
Paul Kasemir is known as “Mr. Consistency”, which basically makes him the Atlanta Falcons of ANW; solid, always up there, never an embarrassment, but just not good enough to reach the top. Should have a good Stage 1, and he does. His left foot slips on Jumping Spider but he recovers, and he powers his way to an impressive 1:17.21. It’s just too bad that this had to be overshadowed by Moravsky and Shieff’s runs.
Miska Sutela is Finnish. And a chef. And a “superfan” (the commentators never explain what this means). Somehow I don’t like his chances. He actually looks solid, but can’t come close to Kasemir’s speed; he makes one unsuccessful leap on Warped Wall before timing out.
Kazuma Asa is determined not to repeat his compatriots’ mistakes. Which, of course, is exactly what he does, taking the plunge on Jumping Spider. Call me pessimistic, but I’m not liking Japan’s chances right now.
USA 2, Europe 1

Stage 2: Rope Jungle, Double Salmon Ladder, Unstable Bridge, Butterfly Wall, Metal Spin, Wall Lift

Round 4: Morimoto, Ghisolfi, Arnold
It’ll probably come as no surprise that I’m not a fan of Rope Jungle. It’s exactly the kind of screwball gimmick ANW simply does not need. This isn’t like Survivor, where they need to keep changing the rules to keep the contest fresh. The athletes are the story here, and there’s enough drama inherent in getting to the end.
Ah, well. Yuusuke Morimoto kicks off the stage. Much like Kanno, he looks very good (he blazes up Double Salmon Ladder) right up to the point where he looks awful. That being the jump to Butterfly Wall, where he misses the top by at least four inches.
Stefano Ghisolfi is an Italian rock climber; like Sutela, this is his first serious competition. His father Valter is in attendance, and every time the camera’s on him, I can only think one thing: “Pleeeease don’t be one of those out of control psycho egomaniac sports parents.” Ghisolfi cruises through Rope Jungle but completely botches the second rung of Double Salmon Ladder and goes straight down.
Now Brian Arnold, one of the superstars of this sport and the favorite of many to finally break through and win it all, has a layup: he only has to make it 3/4 of the way through with all the time in the world and the two points are his. His recent failure on Unstable Bridge is obviously weighing on his mind, and his pace is very cautious, almost timid. But it works; he clears Butterfly Wall without a hitch, and for good measure finishes the rest of the course.
USA 4, Europe 1

Round 5: Shieff, Matachi, Rosen
For some reason Shieff is doing this run instead of the final member of the European contingent. In stark contrast to his record-setting Stage 1, he’s slower and more methodical, taking care to avoid mistakes. Overall it’s a pretty good effort, but the tricky Metal Spin proves to be his undoing, as he takes a much too low jump and is in the water less than halfway to the platform.
Not much to say about Ryo Matachi...because he never gets past the first obstacle, flailing on the ropes for 43 seconds before succumbing.
So another American is left with two points for him to lose. Travis Rosen shows no weakness, sailing through Rope Jungle and flying up Double Salmon Ladder, and completing Unstable Bridge and Butterfly Wall in plenty of time to best Shieff. And he completes the job, taking out his nemesis Metal Spin and hitting the buzzer in an even 1:48. No just good enough-ing on this squad!
The red white and blue are rolling right now, and memories of the curbstomp that was USA vs. Japan are starting to loom large. The commentators assure us that This Contest Is Far From Over, because There Are a Lot More Points and therefore Anything Can Happen, but you have to think they’re getting a little worried.
USA 6, Europe 1

Round 6: Kanno, Hall, McColl
Kanno does better than Matachi...he flails on the ropes for over a minute and a half before the combined effects of fatigue and boredom overwhelm him and he drops.
Hall sets a methodical, workmanlike pace. He finishes without any real danger spots, but his time is longer than what Stage 2 normally allows. He must be counting on Sean McColl making a mistake or getting hung up at some point.
McColl is a rock climber, a first-time competitor, and...most remarkably, IMO...French. Say what you will about France’s war record, their international sports record is far, far worse. Heck, it’s not much better than Japan’s. So you can imagine the kind of pressure he must be feeling. Which he handles remarkably, as he not only shows no hesitation or nervousness, he pulls off two of the most jaw-dropping moves anyone’s ever seen on Stage 2, first grabbing the second board of Unstable Bridge from the front, then landing flat on his chest on the Metal Spin dismount, grabbing the platform, and pulling himself up. He clocks in at 1:46.51, crushing Hall’s time. You kinda have to feel sorry for Hall; he’s always been super awesome, and both times he had to be matched up against someone who was ultra super awesome.
Europe is on the board for Stage 2! The momentum has been killed! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a contest!
USA 6, Europe 3

Stage 3: Cannonball Incline, Doorknob Grasper, Floating Boards, Ultimate Cliffhanger, Propeller Bar, Hang Climb, Spider Flip, Flying Bar

Round 7: Asa, Kuvakin, Kasemir
Asa is desperate for redemption. Which he doesn’t get, as he transitions from the second cannonball to the third and just flat out loses the handle. He’s furious at his early exit. This is the third round in a row the Japanese contingent failed to get any result whatsoever, and now it looks like it’ll take a miracle for them to get on the board at all.
Kuvakin has strength and grace, but on an upper body grinder like Stage 3 you have to think he’s going to meet his match at some point. His agility serves him well on Floating Boards, and he even manages Ultimate Cliffhanger. But as soon as he reaches Hang Climb, it’s clear that he has no idea how to do that upside down funny bump traversing thing. He makes it about halfway before giving out.
Kasemir closes out the round. In a rare blunder for the normally smooth-as-silk American, he jumps from the second to third cannonball and swings well out of reach of the doorknobs. He hangs in there for a while but finally runs out of steam.
The Frenchman ties it up! La Marseilleislsialsse, vive la difference, je ne sais quoi, etc...
USA 6, Europe 6

Round 8: Morimoto, Moravsky, Ghisolfi
Morimoto has had by far the least embarrassing night of anyone on Team Japan, and he’s smiling confidently as he prepares to save what little remains of their face. He’s sets a cautious pace, never showing any fear, and sure enough one obstacle after another falls to him. He takes a long time getting up Spider Flip but manages it with ease. The commentators are raving about how no one’s ever finished Stage 3 before. Now make it one...one, because Morimoto hits the buzzer at 5:38.91. Team Japan has a spark of hope!
The last time Moravsky was here, he looked very good but just couldn’t solve Hang Climb. This time is more of the same, as he’s unable to use his feet effectively and his arms give out.
All eyes on Ghisolfi now. He can really put Europe in the driver’s seat, but he has to make it all the way through, no ifs, ands, or buts. Tries to skip a cannonball...can’t make it!...finally gets through, but uses up some time. Not good technique on Floating Boards; makes it through, but stamina starting to be a factor. Now it’s the Ultimate Cli...wait a minute, did he just reach for the six-inch bar, and get it, easily? Wow...all right, now the Propeller B...HOLY, HE JUMPED RIGHT FROM THE PROPELLER TO THE ROPE! This just isn’t fair folks! He’s completely flawless through Spider Flip and Flying Bar, clocking in at 4:46.89 and obliterating Morimoto’s lackluster time. Valter goes over and gives him a well-deserved hug. (Phew!)
Japan’s spark of hope gets stomped on by Godzilla, and Europe, which was falling behind, has now put up 8 unanswered points. You can’t script this, folks. (Thankfully. )
USA 6, Europe 9

Round 9: Matachi, McColl, Arnold
Matachi, a self-proclaimed Stage 3 specialist, is playing for pride now, and after his embarrassing collapse on Rope Jungle, he could use some. He also knows that time, normally not a factor on Stage 3, matters now, so there’s more than a little urgency. He attacks the course without the slightest bit of nerves and sets a good pace through Ultimate Cliffhanger, but just can’t keep it up. Still, he makes it all the way through, an achievement that seemed so incredible just a few scant minutes ago. Time to beat: 5:04.67.
McColl sets an impressive pace and doesn’t waver in the slightest on any obstacle. For a while it looks like he’s going to shatter Ghisolfi’s too-brief record, complete a sweep of Stage 3, lock up a resounding victory for Europe, and make an addition to the “Golden Snitch” page on TVTropes. Alas, while he certainly locks down the best time throughout 7 obstacles, he goes out on the third jump on Flying Bar. Jean Van De Velde! Zinedine Zidane! That tennis player! Etc...
So it all comes down to Arnold, who probably thought he’d need only a decent distance to ice the win and now has to come up with the run of his life just to force a playoff. He has never completed Stage 3, going out in the exact same spot McColl did twice. What’s more, he’s on the clock, so he can’t spend too much time chasing out the demons. If there’s any time to be hero, to live up to the potential, that time is now. He takes the course...one obstacle down. Two. Three. Ultimate Cliffhanger no problem (and I reflect on how utterly unconquerable it was in the first three seasons). Propeller Bar, easy enough. Hang Climb, he knows how to do this, no problem. Spider Flip...got it. (I’m more than a little surprised that now four people have taken on Spider Flip, Arnold twice, and no one has failed yet.) It all comes down to four unforgiving 5-foot jumps. First one, good. Second one, good. Third one...third one...thiiiirrrrrd ooooone...GOOD! Fourth one, also good! Final time 4:39.90, well ahead of Matachi’s! We’re going to see Stage 4 for the first time ever, folks! (Phew, about flipping time...)
USA 9, Europe 9

Stage 4 (sudden death playoff)

So after all the drama and excitement and tragedy, it comes down to man against man, the very well-rested Travis Rosen vs. the Sean McColl, fresh off his oh-so-close on Flying Bar. One has to wonder why Europe decided on him and if it’ll come back to bite them. The task is simple: Climb 77 feet up the rope and hit the buzzer, faster time wins it all.

Rosen goes first. The commentators note that he isn’t using his feet, but it doesn’t seem to hurt him. He misses the buzzer on his first swipe but gets it right after. Time: 35.77. That’s easily fast enough to clear Stage 4 on Sasuke, which has a shorter climb. Oh boy.
McColl has to be feeling the weight of a continent on his shoulders right now. As he goes up, he uses his feet and actually seems to outpace Rosen, but he slows as he nears the top. It’s going to be close...it’s going to be really, really close...five seconds left...three...two...one...
AND HE DOES IT! 35.46, a mere 31 hundreds of a second faster than Rosen! Liberte Egalite Fraternite! Abel from Street Fighter! Yeah, I got nuthin’...

So Team USA, which was threatening a Royce Gracie-level hegemony, gets shut down cold by the new kids, and it’s the Frenchman who springs back from disappointment to seal the victory and snatch MVP honors from Brian Arnold. Folks, I believe we’re going to have to do this every year.
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  #48  
Old 09-21-2014, 05:53 PM
MaxTheVool MaxTheVool is online now
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So Team USA, which was threatening a Royce Gracie-level hegemony, gets shut down cold by the new kids, and it’s the Frenchman who springs back from disappointment to seal the victory and snatch MVP honors from Brian Arnold. Folks, I believe we’re going to have to do this every year.
It was really pretty comical how the last few runs played out. Every single one going the way it had to go for maximum drama, particularly Matachi, with nothing but pride to play for, beating stage 3, so that if McColl fell off Arnold would still have to complete it, which of course no American has ever done. Then McColl flying through, making it look like it was all over, before falling off, and then Arnold actually beating it to force a playoff. Really remarkable.

What do people think about the way the USA vs X competition is set up? I think having stage 3 worth 3x stage 1 is a bit silly. Someone who can only beat stage 3 is never going to win ANW, because you need to do stage 1 AND stage 2 AND stage 3. The rounds should all be worth the same, imho. (Also it seems weird to have 5-person teams but only 3 run on each round...)
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  #49  
Old 09-21-2014, 09:33 PM
MaxTheVool MaxTheVool is online now
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Also, it's ridiculously unfair to have the international competition be between one team of ninjas all of whom have tried this particular version of Mt. Midoriyama, and all the parts that change from year to year, and others who have not.
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  #50  
Old 09-21-2014, 10:46 PM
Ellis Dee Ellis Dee is offline
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Originally Posted by MaxTheVool View Post
Also, it's ridiculously unfair to have the international competition be between one team of ninjas all of whom have tried this particular version of Mt. Midoriyama, and all the parts that change from year to year, and others who have not.
"All of whom" might be a little strong. For example, Arnold didn't try stage 3 this year.
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