The Cincinnati City Finals for American Ninja Warrior season 11 air on Monday, August 19 at 8/7c on NBC. In order to continue on in the competition, which tests the physical and mental toughness of its athletes, contestants will have to face a new obstacle on the challenging course: the “Slam Dunk.”
The official synopsis for the Cincinnati City Finals episode reads “The competition returns to Cincinnati for the city finals, where competitors including Grant McCartney, Jesse “Flex” Labreck, Michelle Warnky and more will face up to 10 challenging obstacles, including Slam Dunk, which is new to the course.”
The Obstacle’s Name Is a Play on Its Resemblance to Basketball
The obstacle’s name, “Slam Dunk” makes sense, since its features resemble basketball hoops and basketballs, and the athlete must exert the exact right amount of strength and accuracy in order to have success. Plus, the contestant stays holding onto the ball as they slam it down “into” the hoop, like a basketball star would when executing a slam dunk in-game.
Sasukepedia has an entry for the never-before-seen obstacle, under their American Ninja Warrior 11 category. They describe it as follows:
“It consisted of three balls, each with handholds on the left and right sides. Competitors must grab the first ball and build enough swing and momentum to hop it and land onto a hoop-shaped cradle in front. Then, they must grab the second ball and repeat the same process as on the first ball to reach the third ball. On the third ball, competitors must build enough swing and momentum to make the dismount to the landing platform.”
Photos released by NBC ahead of the episode visually confirm that definition of the obstacle. It is apparent that the obstacle is meant to challenge their strength, agility, and precision, as jumps from one hoop to the next cannot be off-line in either direction and transfers from one ball to the next must happen with careful weight distribution so as not to send the ball rolling forward and out of the hoop.
Another photo, taken from further away, shows that an off-line or short attempt would quickly send the contestant falling down about 20 feet, into a safety pool of water and eliminated from competition.
Those photos also reveal that three of the contestants who attempted the challenge during the city finals were Jeri D’Aurelio, Jesse Labreck and Michelle Warnky.
Preview the ‘Slam Dunk’ Obstacle
If you can’t wait to see what the obstacle looks like in-action, Youtuber Lucas Gomes shared a video in which he tests the Cincinnati City Finals obstacles, including the Slam Dunk (which he refers to as “EPIC”). At the 7-minute mark, you can see that the obstacle follows the Salmon Ladder obstacle, and two footholds are present for the contestant to regain their balance before attempting the Slam Dunk.
Its placement on the course appears to be toward the end, so competitors will also be battling fatigue by the time they have to conquer the Slam Dunk. In the video, he makes it across the obstacle successfully – we’ll see if the Cincinnati City Finals contestants have similar luck.
Tune in to new episodes of American Ninja Warrior season 11, Monday nights at 8/7c on NBC.