Colleen Barney is our Jessie Graff — but ‘American Ninja Warrior’ didn’t show her

Colleen tackled the Shrinking Steps obstacle at the Los Angeles trials of "American Ninja Warrior"

Longtime viewers of NBC’s reality show “American Ninja Warrior” know that many of the female runners of the obstacle courses are former track stars, such as Jessie Graff, the stuntwoman. So it’s no wonder that ANW producers picked W50 sprinter Colleen Barney to run the course last March at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

Too bad her run wasn’t shown last week in the Season 11 premiere — almost certainly because she didn’t fit the narrative. See my Times of San Diego story for details. Also scroll down to near the bottom of the story for pictures I took of Colleen at the L.A. city trials.

(Notice that she chose her U.S. team uniform for the run, which is a story in itself.)

In any case, I salute Colleen for braving the elements and bureaucracy of ANW — as well as indulge my curiosity. She is getting a lot of support from friends and family. Best of all, she’s making great progress in her masters track career — where at least she has some control of outcomes.

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About the Author

Ken Stone
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and webmaster since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials. He worked for 10 newspapers and now reports for Times of San Diego. Write him at or Story tips always welcome!

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