(NBC) — The ninjas are back! “American Ninja Warrior” starts an all-new season Monday on NBC.
Kaden Lebsack, 15, came up short in his million-dollar bid in last year’s finale of “American Ninja Warrior,” but ninjas are back to tackle the course as Season 14 of the venerable competition series begins.
“When you watch this show, you can see yourselves in our athletes, more so than any other show,” said show host Matt Iseman.
Many of these “everyman” and “everywoman” ninjas are training for the show year-round.
“You can make your own spider wall, you can make your own salmon ladder, you’re seeing a lot of these ninjas create their own obstacles,” revealed host Akbar Gbajabiamila.
Yet every season, the show’s course designers throw new obstacles at the athletes including this season’s carnival.
“What I love is the creativity, the new ways to challenge these athletes,” said Iseman.
“The surprise element is always fun, but it’s also an athlete’s worst nightmare,” added Gbajabiamila.
An influx of high-performing teenagers was the biggest surprise last season. This time around, it might be the blossoming of love among the ninjas in front of fully charged crowds.
“Things are starting to feel normal again,” said Gbajabiamila. “I think everyone has that appetite and that craving for normalcy.”
It’ll be an all-new normal for one of the ninjas if they conquer Mt. Midoriyama at the season’s end.
$1 million is the prize if someone conquers the “Ninja” finale course.
“American Ninja Warrior” premieres Monday at 7 p.m., followed by “The Weakest Link” at 9 p.m.
“American Ninja Warriors” week 1 competitors:
- Rafael Sanz, Miami, FL
- Ian Ham Arashiro, Miami Beach, FL
- Brad Giles, Atlanta, GA
- Mark Pressley, Asheville, NC
- Megan Budway, Holly Springs, NC
- Josh Wagg, Orlando, FL
- Chad Thornhill, Lynchburg, VA
- Carrington Osborne, Forest, VA
- Josiah Singleton, Brookneal, VA
- Jake Parker, Columbus, NE
- Lindsay Eskildsen, Sacramento, CA
- Lorin Ball, Kihei, HI
- Eric Middleton, Salt Lake City, UT
- Flip Rodriguez, Miami, FL
- Cal Plohoros, Chester Springs, PA
- Allyssa Beird, Kingston, MA
- David Wright, Houston, TX
- Jeff Loftus, Lynchburg, VA
- Christopher Harding Jones, Marietta, GA
- Gary Hines, Atlanta, GA
- John Loobey, Harrisburg, PA
- James McGrath, Seattle, WA
- Lilah Nathison, Fuquay-Varina, NC
- Heather O’Reilly, East Brunswick, NJ
- Antwon Reeves, Greenville, GA
- Karen Potts, North Potomac, MD
- Parish Cardenas, San Antonio, TX
- Grace Sims, Pinnacle, NC
- Brett Sims, Greenville, SC
- Becca Anderson, Greenville, SC
- Bob Reese, Greenville, SC
- Casey Rothschild, Holliston, NC
- Kyle McCreight, Annandale, MN
- Kevin Carbone, Alpharetta, GA
- Mack Roesch, Tampa, FL
- Vance Walker, Marietta, GA
- Justin Andelin, Richmond, VA
- Deshawn Harris, Cincinnati, OH
- Brett Hernandez Strong, Wendell, NC
- Jordan Carr, Easton, CT
- Enzo Deferrari Wilson, Palm Harbor, FL
- Ethan Bartnicki, Marietta, GA
- Vinnie Castranova, Lauderhill, FL
- RJ Roman, Jacksonville, FL
- Zach DiPaolo, Stafford, VA
- James Bartholomew, Swarthmore, PA
- Caleb Dowden, Mountain Groce, MO
- Jennifer Bryant, Uniontown, OH
- Peyton Glover, Myrtle Beach, SC
- Becky Adnot-Haynes, Cincinnati, OH