Kacy Catanzaro aced “American Ninja Warrior” obstacles including the Log Grip, the Salmon Ladder, and the Spider Climb, making her the first woman ever to qualify for the final round of the NBC series — and catapulting her to instant fitness folk-hero status around the globe.
“Badass,” “unbelievably inspiring,” “superhero,” “awesome” and “unreal” were just some of the many ways that blown-away fans described the 5-foot, 100-pound powerhouse’s “ANW” performance on Twitter, where the hashtag #mightykacy trended worldwide on Tuesday.
Related: Hip-Hop Moves That Anyone Can Master
Catanzaro will next compete in the show’s final round in Las Vegas, to air in September, where she’ll compete against four male finalists for $500,000 and the coveted title of American Ninja Warrior.
“Taking a deep breath at the top of the tower just trying to take it all in!” the compact powerhouse wrote on her Facebook page Tuesday. “Don’t ever give up on your #dreams..accomplishing your goals is a feeling I can’t explain!”
The 24-year-old Jersey girl, who has been a gymnast since the age of 3, also danced and played soccer and softball, according to her official website. She went to Towson University in Maryland on a Division 1 gymnastics scholarship, graduated with a BA in early childhood education, and then jumped into the physically challenging world of obstacle-course running, becoming adept at the Alpha Warrior traveling event course. “I felt like I was in a huge adult playground, and I never wanted to leave,” she writes on her site. “I love running obstacles because it is a mental workout along with the physical. There is something in your way of getting from point A to point B, and it is up to you to make that path. I love having that kind of control!”
Her fans love it, too — as it’s hard not to be mesmerized by her Spiderwoman-like command of the “ANW” finals run, which she appears to blow through without any major effort. Show host and former NFL player Akbar Gbaja-Biamila was amazed, saying, “I’ve seen greatness during my NFL career, and I’ve been in awe of people, but I am really in awe of Kacy.”
Co-host Matt Iseman agreed, noting during her jaw-dropping turn, “We are seeing one of the greatest competitors—man or woman—we have ever seen in America Ninja Warrior.” True. That.