Thornton resident competes in American Ninja Warrior

Horizon grad Jaelyn Bennett airing on program this month

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She’s an American. She’s not a ninja or a warrior, but she might be the next American Ninja Warrior. 

Jaelyn Bennett, a resident of Thornton and graduate of Horizon High School, has advanced to the semi-finals of NBC’s popular show American Ninja Warrior. 

According to NBC’s website, ANW brings together some of the top athletes from around the country to navigate through obstacle courses, competing for the best time. This year marked the first season that competitors as young as 15 years old could compete. 

The top prize of $1 million goes to the winner.

Bennett became interested in the competition when she was in high school gymnastics. Her team went to a Ninja Warrior gym in Lafayette and she got hooked.  Unlike a traditional gym, a  Ninja Warrior gym is specific designed to train for the competition. 

“So if you walk in there you'll see traditional obstacles that are seen on the show, such as the Salmon ladder, monkey bars, rings, stuff like that,” she said. 

After she got involved with the gym, she applied on the show. Her first time around, she wasn’t accepted but made it on her second try. She started filming in March and the show is progressively airing every week on Mondays. 

Her years in gymnastics helped prepare her for the game. She said the sport gave her a good sense of her body and her awareness in the air. 

“Bars, especially in gymnastics, are very comparable to Ninja just because you're sprinting from one thing to the next,” she said. 

To train, she spent seven hours a week at the specific gym and does cardio training. She also climbs when she isn’t training. 

Adrenaline autopilot

During the competition, time stands still for her, she said. Adrenaline fuels her body and she runs on autopilot.

“I just did that obstacle and I don't even know how I did it,” she said, referring to what she’s thinking during the course. 

She said the competition is finished, but couldn’t say whether she moves on from the semi-finals until after they air. They will air on July 11, 18 and 25 and Aug. 1 and 8. 

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