PITTSBURGH — With more than 91,000 local viewers watching, Pittsburgh was the backdrop of Monday’s episode of “American Ninja Warrior” on WPXI-TV.
The Steel City is the fifth stop on the show’s national search to find the first “American Ninja Warrior.”
A large television production team and crew set up shop in front of the historic Carrie Furnace in Swissvale in May to tape the show, which featured both local and national physical challengers taking on a complicated qualifying obstacle course in hopes of advancing to the next round of challenges.
Host said Akbar Gbajabiamila said the setting at the historic steel mill was fitting.
“We are on our own quest to make history. These competitors will have to be as tough as steel to face the challenges ahead,” said Gbajabiamila.
The Pittsburgh qualifying course was made up of six obstacles, two of which are brand new to the show this season. The new obstacles, Snake Crossing and Wind Chime proved to be extremely difficult for the majority of contestants.
The show kicked off with local competitor Matt Scoletti proudly waving a Terrible Towel.
“I am the most proud person in Pittsburgh, PA! We are the Steel Town, the ‘Burgh;’ the best city on the planet, baby!” Scoletti excitedly told cameras as he prepared to take on the challenge.
Scoletti is a 31-year-old financial advisor and says he is no stranger to working hard, winning the “Mr. Pittsburgh” competition in 2013 as the physique athlete of the year.
SPOLIER ALERT: Scoletti’s run ended early in the second obstacle when a jarring drop on the Log Grip challenge sent him into the water.
“All of Pittsburgh is here representing. This is unbelievable. I feel bad that I let them down, but this has been a blast though,” said Scoletti as he exited the course.
The second challenger, Brianne McLaughlin of Moon Township is a local hero best known as goaltender of the US Women’s Olympic Hockey team.
McLaughlin has won Olympic medals, but now, her eyes were set on the “ANW” title.
“The next Olympics are in 2018 and I am currently training, but I like to challenge myself and American Nina Warrior is something completely different from hockey” said McLaughlin.
SPOILER ALERT: McLaughlin breezed through the first two obstacles but the brand new Snake Crossing challenge proved to be too much for the two-time Olympic silverist.
“It’s a lot harder than it looks. I thought I had it at the end,” said McLaughlin.
Other challengers also found the course to be too much to handle, with only twenty-two competitors, including Pittsburgh’s own Ron Schmidt, completing the qualifying course.
Additional Pittsburgh episodes were taped while in town and we will be sure to let you know when they are set to air.
An encore presentation of Monday’s episode will air on Wednesday, July 8 at 9 p.m. on WPXI-TV.