For the past five years, gymnastics coach Colt Scott has been training, with one goal in mind: American Ninja Warrior.
“I’ve put in an application for the past three seasons, and each season I was let down,” said Scott. “I got on a different show, which was great, an awesome experience. I also got to test for the show which has been fun but it never really felt as validating as being on the show.”
But Scott didn’t give up on his dream. On his fourth attempt, he was accepted and will compete in the NBC show’s eleventh season later this month.
“Now I feel like I’ve actually got the opportunity to show what I can do when the lights are on,” he said.
Scott works for and trains with the East Coast Gymnastics and Cheer gym in Winchester, which opened in 2009 and now is the largest gym in the city, with nearly 400 students.
Owner Mandy Van Fossen says the program started three years ago as a way to get more boys involved in gymnastics.
“I was really obsessed with the show Ninja Warrior and I ironically ran into a friend while thinking about this,” Van Fossen said. “He was in love with the show and just knew all the ins and outs with the show and two brains collided and we decided to take a little piece of the gym and give it a go.”
The course takes up about half of a room in the gym, which has expanded several times since it first opened to a floor plan of about 10,000 square feet.
Van Fossen says the program steadily grew, and now about 100 people participate in the gym’s Ninja Warrior training every week. Others stop by the gym on the weekends for open practice.
Scott is not the first member of the gym to be on the show. Last season, Eli Bell competed but was ultimately disqualified after falling off an obstacle.
“I think it speaks volumes to our coaching staff,” said Van Fossen. “Jonathan Wyman is the head coach of the Ninja Warrior program and he is all heart. He would give the shirt off his back for his athletes and I can say that about all of our coaches. Truly from gymnastics to cheer to ninja, we have the most amazing coaching staff and I just won’t settle for anything less.”
Both Van Fossen and Scott say they’ve achieved their respective dreams of opening a gym and competing on the show by believing in themselves and they want others to do the same.
“Bottom line if you work hard enough, never lose faith,” said Scott. “Never give up. And no matter what life throws at you, you can overcome it.”
Scott says he’s nursing an arm injury, but as long as that heals up, he’s ready to give his all on the course on March 23rd and 25th.