Deadly Ninja Jack Wilson on the course. Picture: Nine Network
Deadly Ninja Jack Wilson on the course. Picture: Nine Network

It’s time to make Ninja Warrior an Olympic sport

WITH momentum building in Queensland's bid to host the 2032 Olympics it's time to put some thought into our "home pick" sport.

Under rules introduced in 2014, host countries are permitted to add popular local events to the program.

With the International Olympic Committee desperate to stay relevant in the video game age I reckon I've got just the thing to win over the bid judges.

Ninja Warrior.

Now hang on, I know what you are thinking, but let's look at the alternatives. Lego Masters challenges take too long, Married At First Sight is already an Olympic event at the athletes' village and, given what's happening at the World Swimming Championships right now, the last thing we need is the controversy of a MasterChef pay dispute.

Which leaves Ninja Warrior.

Deadly Ninja Jack Wilson would be a good Aussie Olympian. Picture: Nine Network
Deadly Ninja Jack Wilson would be a good Aussie Olympian. Picture: Nine Network

If it's not the prototype Olympic sport of the future, I'm a bad judge.

Now admittedly I'm something of a Ninja Warrior tragic. It started for me in 2014 when I was in the UK.

Back then it was something of oddity. One of the UK networks had got hold of the original Japanese series and had an English comedian do a voice-over commentary. It was hilarious. Of course we take it a lot more seriously these days.

In fact, the way the cast of the Today Show ruminates over the events of the previous night's episode you'd swear it was the most important thing in the world.

"Last night Ginger Ninja Tom Nicholson failed on three attempts to get up the Warped Wall, Luke Filippi fell on the Flying Shelf Grab and Trudie Horskins' shoe fell off … in other news Iran has seized a British ship in the Strait of Hormuz …"

Australian Ninja Warrior hosts Ben Fordham, Rebecca Maddern and Freddie Flintoff. Picture: Nine Network
Australian Ninja Warrior hosts Ben Fordham, Rebecca Maddern and Freddie Flintoff. Picture: Nine Network

Not that I'm downplaying the human drama of Trudie's pain.

Imagine that. You work your tail off for months, fight your way into the semi-finals and get disqualified because your shoe comes off on the Rolling Log.

Georgie Gardner appeared close to tears during the Today Show's exclusive interview with Trudie the next morning, but as shocked hosts Rebecca Maddern and Ben Fordham had explained the night before, "international Ninja rules are really clear about this".

Fordham even gave an eyewitness account of being at the athletes' briefing where they were told that "if anything, even a hairclip, falls off you and goes into that water, you're disqualified …"

I'm guessing that's why Daniel "The Barefoot Ninja" Mason prefers rubber bands to hairclips.

But seriously, why not?

You call those waves? Japan surf spot, Tsurigasaki, has been picked as the location for the first Olympic surfing event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Picture: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
You call those waves? Japan surf spot, Tsurigasaki, has been picked as the location for the first Olympic surfing event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Picture: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The Japanese have gone with surfing and skateboarding for their host picks in Tokyo next year, and given some of the slop that the surfing test event was held in at Tsurigasaki Beach last week, that could well prove to be as exciting as watching bonsai grow.

Some of the core sports aren't much better. Have you ever sat through an afternoon of Olympic air pistol? I have. I've covered the Greco-Roman wrestling too, and while in some countries it is regarded with the affection we reserve for State of Origin, it didn't make my one-piece singlet roll up and down.

But with Ninja Warrior you're guaranteed action aplenty - all you need is enough space to throw up a decent Bouncing Spider and Salmon Ladder. We also know the "international Ninja rules are really clear", and you only have to look at Georgie Gardner's face to know the emotional impact it can have.

Bring back that Pommy comedian to do commentary and you can't go wrong.

Mike Colman is a senior writer on The Courier-Mail.