The Tuning Forks is an obstacle, firstly introduced on American Ninja Warrior 10, as the fourth obstacle during Dallas qualifiers.
It consisted of 3 V-shaped boards that would pivot when the competitors stepped on them, each board was supported with a support bar at the bottom, and the boards were increasing in size. Competitors must run across the obstacle to reach the landing platform.
During Dallas qualifiers, the obstacle was proven to be brutal. Several top competitors, including Karsten Williams, Brent Steffensen, Barclay Stockett, Brittany Hanks, Kevin Klein, Brian Burkhardt, Elliott Jolivette, Adam Naids, Jonathan Horton, and James Gross, had been taken out by this obstacle. Most of the time, competitors made a misstep on the third tuning fork, causing them to lose momentum and ultimately fail to reach the landing platform.
In total, 22 competitors fell on this obstacle. With only 26 competitors completing the obstacle, it had became the cut-off for the top 30 competitors for advancing to Dallas finals.
A serious elimination of the obstacle came from April Steiner Bennett's run, in which she suffered an extremely painful crash on the third tuning fork. This caused a fractured/dislocated ankle and resulted in her having to be rushed into the ambulance. Due to her injury, she was replaced by Kat Ratcliff (who fell on one obstacle prior, the Bouncing Spider) for Dallas finals, as she technically placed fifth in the top 5 female competitors. Likely for these reasons, this elimination was not shown during the broadcast.
During Dallas finals, the obstacle was replaced by the Broken Bridge. However, because said obstacle would later appear in Philadelphia course on the same season (whether during Philadelphia qualifiers and finals), the Tuning Forks was one of the three qualifier obstacles to not reappear in any city finals course (along with the Floating Steps and Ring Jump). Originally however, the Tuning Forks was supposed to be the third obstacle during Philadelphia finals, replacing the Broken Bridge during Philadelphia qualifiers. However, due to severe weather on the day before the taping of city finals round in that city, affecting the safety factor of the course (particularly at the balance obstacle), the producers decided to keep the Broken Bridge as the third obstacle instead of swapping it with the Tuning Forks.
Other Season Appearances
American Ninja Warrior 13
After three seasons, the obstacle returned as the ninth obstacle during the first and second episodes of semifinals on American Ninja Warrior 13. This time, the second fork was placed lower than the other two, the forks were turned sideways, and the tops of the forks were slanted. The obstacle was also paired with the Inverter as part of the Split Decision.
Out of the fifteen competitors who reached the Split Decision during the first semifinals episode, seven of them decided to attempt the obstacle, and four of them failed on it: Tiana Webberley, Isaiah Thomas, Owen Dyer, and Deren Perez. Also, as shown via Dyer's run, the top part of each fork could be broken and derailed.
During the second semifinals episode, seven competitors reached the Split Decision, and only one of them (Rachel Degutz) decided to attempt the obstacle and failed.
Australian Ninja Warrior
On Australian Ninja Warrior 3, the Tuning Forks appeared as the third obstacle during the heats.
In Heat 1 and Heat 3, the obstacle became the cut-off for advancing to the semifinals. In Heat 2, every competitor who reached the obstacle advanced to the semifinals (since only 16 competitors attempted the obstacle and the top 18 competitors from each heat would advance to the semifinals on that season).
Competitors' Success Rate
- All results based on the NBC broadcast and external information found
- The name of the obstacle was based on a tool of the same name, which is used as a resonator to measure pitch and frequency of sound.
- The Tuning Forks had a similar concept to the Log Runner, as both obstacles served as balance obstacles that would rotate in an opposing direction as the competitors run across it. Because of this, both of them utilized friction to oppose the competitors' motion and ultimately interfere with their momentum.