On Monday night's finals competition in Las Vegas, where contestants tried to complete stage one of Mt. Midoriyama, this year's sensation Kacy Catanzaro - #mightykacy - was eliminated on just the fourth obstacle, the dreaded "Jumping Spider." She was strong enough, fast enough, skilled enough, disciplined enough ... she just wasn't tall enough. And that's just wrong. Catanzaro, a skilled gymnast who was a national champion in college, stands just five feet tall. And that wingspan did not offer her an even field on which to compete in an obstacle course where she bested numerous stronger and taller men in the city finals.
The American Ninja Warrior competition should be accessible to people who are strong enough and skilled enough. Granted, there are numerous challenges and obstacles that can be easier or more difficult based on height, weight, and strength. Certainly, a larger person faces greater difficulty in any "pull up" or grip-sensitive exercise simply because he/she has more weight to lift and hold. But that can be managed through discipline, training, and brute strength. The jumping spider challenge - which requires contestants to brace their arms between two walls and "scale" them - is simply impossible for a person who is only five feet tall.
Her jump was clean. He landing was balanced. She did nothing wrong in sticking the landing. All the mistakes that eliminated other contestants don't apply to Kacy. She is just too short to reach the walls with any leverage to complete the challenge. And that is just wrong.