There’s a New Hula-Hooping Star of “American Ninja Warrior”

6Dayna Fisher never set out to be your run-of-the-mill “American Ninja Warrior” contestant – she strived to be a little…offbeat.

“Normal is boring,” the Mount Laurel resident, 30, states. “I’ve always been different. And I grew up to be a hula-hooping, circus-performing ninja warrior.”

Fisher appeared on this season of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior (ANW) and though she fell in the Phialdelphia qualifying round, she stood out as a competitor talented not only on the obstacle course, but also with hula hoops.

Fisher has developed herself into something of a niche ninja warrior – she taught herself hula hoop tricks watching YouTube videos and started her own hula hoop creation company (wait for it – “Hoops I Did It Again”).

When she first arrived to take a ninja warrior class at The Movement Lab in Hainesport, she asked gym co-founder Brian Wilczewski if she could try some of the obstacles with her hula hoops – and was offered a job. Now she teaches both hula hooping and parkour (the movement skill used on ANW).

5“Parkour is amazing. I joke around with my students all the time that we’re training to be able to handle a zombie apocalypse,” she laughs.

Teaching – especially her younger students – has become one of the most satisfying parts of her training.

“Most people who come to hula hoop or parkour classes are kids who don’t fit into traditional sports. They’re a little different, a little awkward,” she says. “That really strikes a nerve with me. I like boosting their confidence and showing them why it’s great to be different.”


Fisher with Chris and Brian Wilczewski

This summer on ANW, Fisher fell short of expectations when she fell on the ascending steps.

“I was very sick the night we filmed,” she says. “I had 101- or 102-degree fever – bad luck – and I didn’t get to actually run until 4:30 am, so I had plenty of time for nerves and anxiety, watching everyone else go. I overshot it by about a half-inch too far, because I was overcompensating for how weak I felt.”

But she’ll be back next season, and with a chip on her shoulder.

“I will not let that image of me falling on the first obstacle be the last time I’m seen on that show,” she says. “I will be back stronger and better than ever.”

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