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From Dinner Roll to Ninja Warrior, Jonny Moseley still taking it to the extreme

May 4, 2012, 4:20 PM EDT

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American Ninja Warrior 2012 DAY 1

Jonny Moseley mastered the Dinner Roll, but he’s still a little wary of the Rolling Escargot. The former is his signature ski trick, which he invented in 1999 just after winning a gold medal at the ’98 Winter Olympics. The latter is an event in the TV show American Ninja Warrior (Take a look at the Rolling Escargot here, and a homemade version here). It may not be as difficult as the Dinner Roll, but it looks a lot more intimidating.

After retiring from competitive skiing a decade ago, Moseley finds himself a rookie once again. He’ll be co-hosting season four of American Ninja Warrior, which debuts May 20 on G4 and May 21 on NBC. ANW, as you probably know, is an athletic skills competition where athletes negotiate obstacle courses with events such as the Halfpipe Attack, the Shincliff Hanger and the Tarzan Rope. Moseley will be co-hosting with Matt Iseman of Sports Soup. Angela Sun (Yahoo! Sports Minute, NBC’s 1st Look) will serve as the sideline reporter. Moseley takes over for Jimmy Smith, who co-hosted the first three seasons.

“They called me and asked if I’d like to help do the hosting, and it was a no-brainer for me,” Moseley told Off the Bench. “I love obstacle course stuff: I used to do the Superstars competition (the ABC show in which he finished second four of five years from 1998-2002), but this is even more intense.”

Moseley says it actually reminds him of the training he used to do in Steamboat, Colo., when he was preparing for the Olympics.

“Our coach set up this crazy obstacle course in the forest. It was on a hillside, and we had to jump over things and crawl under trees and climb ropes, swing, negotiate crazy slaloms. It was a great workout, and a lot of fun.

“Ninja Warrior kind of reminds me of that. I tried some of the Ninja Warrior obstacles, and the jumping and hanging came to me pretty naturally. There were other stages, though, that I wasn’t so good at.”

Like the Barrel Grip (below), perhaps.


Moseley lives in Tiburon (San Francisco Bay Area) with his wife and two young sons, but spends about half the year at Lake Tahoe, Calif., where he is an official ski host at Squaw Valley. He’ll play the color analyst role on American Ninja Warrior, where the regional competitions will begin in Venice, Calif., the original home of the previous tryouts, and then shift to Dallas and Miami. The finals will be in Las Vegas — the first time the finals have been held in the U.S.

“The competition started in 1996 in Japan,” Moseley said, “and over the years there’s been a cult of people who train for it. The events remain pretty much the same from year to year, and the competitors we get are in unbelievable shape. People from every walk of life, and even pro athletes.”

But being a pro athlete here doesn’t really give you an edge (there’s talk that some NFL players will be involved, but we won’t know for sure until the premiere).

“Some guys are Cirque du Soleil performers,” Moseley said. “I’d say if anyone has an edge in this, they might.”

Photos courtesy G4.

American Ninja Warrior [G4TV]