More women embrace their inner ninja
MORE women are rising to the challenge of Australian Ninja Warrior as the hit obstacle course series returns for a second season.
The six females who made it to the semi-finals last year are back, and hot on their heels are more women who have taken up Ninja training as inspired by Andrea Hah, who conquered the warped wall, and former gymnast Olivia Vivian.
It's inspiring for returning co-host Rebecca Maddern, who was expecting her first child during filming. She and husband Trent Miller welcomed their daughter Ruby into the world a few months ago.
"The women are phenomenal this year," she says.
"It is really extraordinary to witness; what an example to set not just for their kids but for other mums out there.
"On some occasions I got tears in my eyes... it's so empowering to watch that happen in front of you.
There are so many great things that have happened for females in Australian sport in the past two years and this is just another addition to that."
Viewers will see plenty of other familiar faces - including Mount Isa's 'deadly ninja' Jack Wilson, the Ravi brothers, Ben Polson and season one finalist Luke Williams - with 90% of last year's contestants applying for season two.
"These people were so good in season one. I didn't think it was possible to get fitter and better, but some of our returning heroes are fitter and better than last year and that has blown me away," Maddern says.
"These people had six packs last year and now they have 12 packs (laughs)."
With more competitors, a longer course, and more semi-finals and grand final stages, Ninja Warrior promises more high-flying thrills and spills.
"We sit back and do marvel at what these competitors do. It's easier this year (for us as hosts), but in saying that there are things that have happened that we never would have predicted," she says.
"There are some shocks, which make for a great TV show. There is no script to this. They stand there, the buzzer goes off and we don't know what happens next.
"More often than not when you think this person is on a roll they'll slip up and it's all over. You really go on the course with them, riding very bump and grasp and jolt.
"The underlying theme of those whole show is 'I'm going to give this a go'. I think that makes up so much of the Australian psyche and this is just extrapolating that. It's about fitness, health, giving it a go, setting yourself a goal and achieving that goal, and if you don't then try harder and improve yourself."
Season two of Australian Ninja Warrior premieres on Sunday at 7pm on Channel 9.