The Lightning Bolts is an obstacle, firstly introduced as the fifth obstacle on American Ninja Warrior 10 in Philadelphia.
It consisted of 3 bolt-shaped rotating cradles and a bar rested at the start of the first cradle. Competitors must jump from the trampoline and grab the bar. Then, they must gain enough momentum to jump the bar and reach the second half of the first cradle (in a similar fashion to the Salmon Ladder, and the second part of the cradle would drop down when the competitors landed the bar on it). From there, they must gain enough momentum to jump the bar and reach the second cradle (in a similar fashion to the Flying Bar or Bar Hop), then repeated the same processes until they could reach the second part of the third cradle, and finally made the dismount to the landing platform.
During Philadelphia qualifiers, a total of 22 competitors failed on this obstacle, with notable competitors including Lucas Reale, Cara Poalillo, Zach Day, Alex Nye, Ryan Carson and Gavin Ross. Notably, almost every competitor who failed was a rookie, with the only exceptions being Chris Fantauzzo and James Bartholomew, in which Chris was on his second season competing on American Ninja Warrior, while James was on his third season competing. Because of this, almost all of the veterans who attempted the obstacle were able to complete it and finish the course.
On the other side, two rookies (Casey Rothschild and Matt Strollo) were among the 12 competitors who completed the obstacle, as well as the course as a whole. A total of 22 rookies attempted the obstacle, meaning that with them being the only two rookies to finish the obstacle, it ultimately knocked out 91% of the rookies during Philadelphia qualifiers who attempted it.
During Philadelphia finals, 11 competitors fell on the obstacle. This time around, it claimed McKinley Pierce and Chad Riddle as additional non-rookies as its victims. However, with the exception of Pierce and Riddle, every other competitor who failed on this obstacle during Philadelphia finals had failed on it before during Philadelphia qualifiers, including Chris Fantauzzo, Ryan Lee, Andrew Sherk, Tyler Waters, and Brian Pease. Only 13 competitors could get past the obstacle, making it the cut off for the top 15 competitors to advance to Las Vegas national finals.
Other Season Appearances
American Ninja Warrior 11
On American Ninja Warrior 11, the Lightning Bolts appeared as the fifth obstacle in Seattle-Tacoma.
During Seattle-Tacoma qualifiers, the obstacle became more brutal, as a total of 25 competitors failed on it. This time, multiple veterans such as Meagan Martin, Nick Hanson, Jackson Meyer, Sean Darling-Hammond, Nate Burkhalter, Charlie Andrews, Matt Dolce, and Holly Beckstrand, failed on the obstacle. In total, 11 veterans failed on the obstacle.
The obstacle ultimately was served as the cut-off for both the top 30 and the top 5 female competitors for advancing to Seattle-Tacoma finals.
As if it wasn't brutal enough, a total of 17 competitors fell on this obstacle during Seattle-Tacoma finals, which was more than 50% of the finalist field. Most astonishingly, 10 of the competitors who failed here had completed the obstacle before during Seattle-Tacoma qualifiers (including Lance Pekus, Jake Murray, Leif Sundberg, and Bart Copeland). Notable competitors who failed the obstacle again included Jackson Meyer, Meagan Martin (making it the first time in her career that she did not advance to the Las Vegas national finals), and Gavin Maxwell. It should be worth noting that with the exception of two competitors, every city finalist in the Seattle-Tacoma finals attempted the obstacle. However, because of the high knockout rate, the obstacle contributed to Seattle-Tacoma finals' zero finishers.
Competitors' Success Rate
- All results based on the NBC broadcast and external information found
- Since there were only 13 competitors who could get past this obstacle during American Ninja Warrior 10's Philadelphia finals, the Lightning Bolts became the fourth obstacle in American Ninja Warrior history that despite being a front-half obstacle (i.e. the obstacles before the Salmon Ladder), the obstacle was served as the cut off for the top 15 competitors to advance to Las Vegas national finals, with the others being:
- The Lightning Bolts during American Ninja Warrior 11's Seattle-Tacoma qualifiers tied with the Battering Ram during American Ninja Warrior 9's Los Angeles qualifiers as the obstacle that had the highest amount of female competitor attempts for a fifth obstacle in a city qualifiers course, having a total of seven attempts.
- With 17 competitors falling, the Lightning Bolts during American Ninja Warrior 11's Seattle-Tacoma finals had taken out the most number of competitors out of any obstacle in the front-half part of the city finals course (i.e. the first six obstacles) in American Ninja Warrior history, beating the Jumping Bars and the Hourglass Drop during American Ninja Warrior 4's Northeast Region finals and American Ninja Warrior 7's Venice Beach finals respectively, at 13.