Oldest Contestants Ever on American Ninja Warrior

10 Oldest Contestants Ever on American Ninja Warrior

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American Ninja Warrior debuted in 2009 and served as the American qualifiers for SASUKE 23 (Japanese Ninja Warrior). Since then, the competition has taken America by storm and hundreds of people turn up each year to try and achieve Total Victory. The popularity of the show has drawn a wide array of competitors, including some who are senior citizens! A few of the contestants on this list are American Ninja Warrior mainstays while the oldest competitors were novelties. All of the competitors on this list were (and still are) in great shape and able to keep up with athletes half their age.

As of February 2020, this list is as accurate as possible and will be updated as needed.

10. David Campbell (June 23, 1977 – Present)

Age at Most Recent or Last Competition: 42 years old – Las Vegas Finals for ANW Season 11 (June 21-23, 2019)
Hometown:  Scotts Valley, California, USA
Job: Musician, Sound Engineer, and Pizza Delivery Driver
First Appearance: American Ninja Warrior Season 1 (c. December 2009)
Total Number of Competitions: 11

photo source: Sasukepedia

Unlike all of the other people on this list, David Campbell started his Ninja Warrior career on SASUKE (Japanese Ninja Warrior) before also competing in American Ninja Warrior. Campbell made it onto SASUKE 22 during the last time they had an American preliminary round and did the best out of any American on that season.

Campbell has appeared on every season of American Ninja Warrior and has continued to make it far. He holds many records, including being the first American to build an obstacle course in their backyard to practice for Ninja Warrior.

Did You Know?

In addition to Japanese and American Ninja Warrior, David Campbell has competed on SASUKE Vietnam and became the first competitor on that show to achieve kanzenseiha or Total Victory. Campbell is the third American to ever achieve Total Victory on any version of the show.


9. Sandy Zimmerman (c.1977 – Present)

Age at Most Recent or Last Competition: 42 years old – Seattle City Qualifiers for ANW Season 11 (May 11-12, 2019)
Hometown:  Spokane, Washington, USA
Job: P.E. Teacher
First Appearance: Los Angeles City Qualifiers for ANW Season 8 (c. June 2016)
Total Number of Competitions: 3

photo source: Sasukepedia

Sandy Zimmerman made American Ninja Warrior history at the most recent competition in 2019 when she became the first mom to complete a Qualifying course. Zimmerman is also the oldest women to achieve this feat at the age of 42. She advanced exceptionally fair in the 2019 competition, just missing out on the national finals when she placed 14th overall.

Did You Know?

Sandy Zimmerman’s husband, Charles, also competed once on American Ninja Warrior in season 10 and her children have participated in American Ninja Warrior Junior.


8. Sam Sann (June 3, 1967 – Present)

Age at Most Recent or Last Competition: 50 years, 9 months, 23 days – Dallas City Qualifiers for ANW Season 10 (March 25-26, 2018)
Hometown:  Houston, Texas, USA (born in Phnompenh, Cambodia)
Job: American Ninja Warrior Trainer and Owner of
First Appearance: American Ninja Warrior Season 4 (c. May 2012)
Total Number of Competitions: 7

photo source: Sasukepedia

Sam Sann is one of the most popular athletes ever on American Ninja Warrior. Sann first started competing in his late 40s and made his last appearance in 2018 when he was over 50 years old. Like a few other American Ninja Warrior alums, Sann has used his fame to launch a new career. Sann is now one of the most sought after American Ninja Warrior trainers and he owns and operates a gym in Houston, Texas.

Did You Know?

Sam Sann has trained many top American Ninja Warriors, including Drew Dreschel and Daniel Gil.


7. Kelvin Antoine (c.1959 – Present)

Age at Most Recent or Last Competition: 55 years old – American Ninja Warrior Season 6 (c. May 2014)
Hometown:  Santa Clarita, California, USA (born in Trinidad)
Job: Owner of Tempest Freerunning Academy (gym)
First Appearance: American Ninja Warrior Season 2 (c. December 2010)
Total Number of Competitions: 5

Kelvin Antoinephoto source: hometownstation.com

Although numerous people in their 50s and beyond have now competed on American Ninja Warrior, Kelvin Antoine was the first person in their 50s to make it on to the show back in Season 2. Antoine said that he had absolutely no American Ninja Warrior training and just showed and wowed the audience when he cleared the Quad Steps with one foot. Antoine made four more American Ninja Warrior appearances before retiring from the competition in 2014.

Did You Know?

Kelvin Antoine was inspired by his time on American Ninja Warrior and decided to open Tempest Freerunning Academy, where American Ninja Warrior greats like Flip Rodriguez and Tiana Webberley got their start.


6. Jon Stewart (c.1962 – Present)

Age at Most Recent or Last Competition: 57 years old – Seattle City Qualifiers for ANW Season 11 (May 11-12, 2019)
Hometown:  Washington, Utah, USA
Job: Construction Manager
First Appearance: Denver City Qualifiers for ANW Season 5 (c. June 2013)
Total Number of Competitions: 7

photo source: Sasukepedia

Jon Stewart (not to be confused with actor/host Jon Stewart) is a recently retired American Ninja Warrior competitor. Stewart first came on the show in 2013 during the Denver qualifiers, where he made it all the way to the dreaded Warped Wall. He competed seven more times on American Ninja Warrior before announcing that season 11 would be his last. Stewart was about 57 years old during his last run.

Did You Know?

During American Ninja Warrior season 8, Jon Stewart became the oldest athlete to finish the Qualifying round at the age of 54 and made it to the Oklahoma City Finals.


5. Chris Warnky (c.1957 – Present)

Age at Most Recent or Last Competition: 60 years old – Cleveland City Qualifiers for ANW Season 9 (May 8-9, 2017)
Hometown:  Columbus, Ohio, USA
Job: Writer
First Appearance: Cleveland City Qualifiers for ANW Season 9 (May 8-9, 2017)
Total Number of Competitions: 1

Chris Warnkyphoto source: American Ninja Warrior Nation

Like Ginny MacColl, Chris Warnky is the parent of a popular recurring American Ninja Warrior contestant –  his daughter is Michelle Warnky – who decided to make his own run on the show in his 60s. Warnky made one appearance at the Cleveland, Ohio city qualifiers during season 9 when he was 60 years old. Warnky’s time on the show, inspired him to go after his dreams, which was to write and publish a book. Of course, Warnky’s first book was about all the fun he had on American Ninja Warrior, despite not making it past the third obstacle.

Did You Know?

Chris Warnky has now published five books in his Heart of a Ninja series and says that his goal is to publish at least 15 books before he turns 70.


4. Dan Leach (c.1949 – Present)

Age at Most Recent or Last Competition: 65 years old – Miami City Qualifiers for ANW Season 6 (c. May 2014)
Hometown:  Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA
Job: Retired Army Veteran
First Appearance: Miami City Qualifiers for ANW Season 5 (c. June 2013)
Total Number of Competitions: 2

Dan Leachphoto source: The Fayetteville Observer

Although John Loobey has since smashed his record twice, back in 2014, Dan Leach was the oldest competitor to finish a second obstacle at the age of 64. Like all of the oldest contestants on this list, Leach, who is a retired Army veteran, is in phenomenal shape and works hard to maintain his physique. Leach made one more go at American Ninja Warrior in 2014 when he was about 65 years old. In 2015, Leach was featured in his local news because he was getting ready to compete in a special all military edition of American Ninja Warrior.

Did You Know?

During the Vietnam War, Dan Leach was a captain leading Army Rangers and he received three Bronze Star medals with valor for his actions.


3. Ginny MacColl (c.1952 – Present)

Age at Most Recent or Last Competition: 66 years old – Miami City Qualifiers for ANW Season 10 (April 13-14, 2018)
Hometown:  New York City, New York, USA
Job: Actress
First Appearance: Daytona Beach City Qualifiers for ANW Season 9 (April 7-8, 2017)
Total Number of Competitions: 2

Ginny MacCollphoto source: womensmovementcollaborative.com

Ginny MacColl is the oldest woman to ever compete on American Ninja Warrior at the age of 66. MacColl is an actress as well as the mother of Jessie Graff, one of the most popular American Ninja Warrior competitors, who has appeared on the show every year since season 5.

MacColl began training for American Ninja Warrior in 2016 and competed in two city qualifiers. Additionally, MacColl often does regional Ninja Warrior competitions.

Did You Know?

In addition to being an actress, Ginny MacColl was a professional dancer for 10 years and the hit Broadway show, Pippin.


2. John Loobey (c.1952 – Present)

Age at Most Recent or Last Competition: 67 years old – Cincinnati City Qualifiers for ANW Season 11 (May 24-25, 2019)
Hometown:  Bristol, Tennessee, USA
Job: Car Tool Salesman
First Appearance: San Pedro City Qualifiers for ANW Season 7 (June 5-6, 2015)
Total Number of Competitions: 5

John Loobeyphoto source: Sasukepedia

Before Rich Talavera broke his record in 2017, John Loobey aka the “Geriatric Ninja” was the oldest competitor ever on American Ninja Warrior. Although he is no longer the absolute oldest, Loobey is currently the oldest active American Ninja Warrior as he competed in the most recent contest from 2019. So far, Loobey has appeared on American Ninja Warrior five times, but has failed to pass the first obstacle during his last few appearances.

Did You Know?

John Loobey set the record for being the oldest contestant to clear two obstacles when he was 65 years old during American Ninja Warrior Season 10.


1. Rich Talavera (c. 1947 – Present)

Age at Most Recent or Last Competition: 70 years old – Kansas City Qualifiers for ANW Season 9 (July 3, 2017)
Hometown:  Prairie Village, Kansas, USA
Job: Pharmacy Tech
First Appearance: Kansas City Qualifiers for ANW Season 9 (July 3, 2017)
Total Number of Competitions: 1

Rich Talaveraphoto source: The Kansas City Star

In 2017, during the Kansas City qualifiers, Rich Talavera became the oldest contestant ever on American Ninja Warrior at the age of 70! Talavaera, a pharmacy tech, is incredibly fit for his age and underwent intense training to compete on the show. Although Talavera didn’t make it past the second obstacle during his run, American Ninja Warrior ran a special segment on him when the show aired.

Did You Know?

Rich Talavera is in such good shape, that he can do a handstand on a skateboard!


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