“I’m the kind of person where I tell myself ‘If I can do it, I’m going to do it,’” said Nyjle Henry, a shipbuilder who competed on “American Ninja Warrior.”

Shipbuilder to Appear on “American Ninja Warrior”

Published June 1, 2022

Nyjle Henry, a product owner at Newport News Shipbuilding, was selected to appear on NBC’s hit show “American Ninja Warrior,” airing the week of June 6-10.

“The deadline was Dec. 15, 2021, and I got a phone call on Jan. 21, 2022,” Henry said. “Sure enough, it was the casting crew saying I got selected. I thought it was a prank call from friends at first.”

Henry, who has always been into fitness, grew up watching “American Ninja Warrior,” and has competition as his No. 2 CliftonStrength, participated in tough mudder competitions and Spartan races in the past. The decision to apply to the show stemmed from his performance at an Ultimate Backyard Warrior event in North Carolina in 2018.

“On a whim, I went out there to see how it is, and I did pretty terrible,” Henry said. “I got humbled pretty fast, and that was the moment when I decided to dedicate my fitness for ‘Ninja.’” He trained for about four years in preparation for his audition video, which included building some elements from the show – like the salmon ladder – in his backyard with his father.

During the taping of the show, Henry was able to meet all the other competitors. “I know it’s a competition, but when you’re out there, everyone wants everyone to win,” he said. “It was great to be surrounded by people who shared my passion for this sport.”

Henry relates his “American Ninja Warrior” experience to NNS’ Enterprise Agility System (EAS) transformation. “We’re all on agile teams here working toward the same goal, and that’s how it is with Ninja as well,” he said.

Every obstacle requires a certain strength, and if you have a weakness in that area, the other competitors were there to give instruction and advice for how to improve your skill. “If there’s an area you’re kind of weak in, you always have someone here at NNS who will help you out, because they want you to do well, too,” said Henry. “It’s always about the people sharing a common goal.”

So what’s next? Henry has big plans for future fitness competitions, including the Spartan Trifecta (three races of increasing difficulty performed in a single year), competing again in Ultimate Backyard Warrior’s competitions, as well as possible additional appearances on “American Ninja Warrior.”

Tune in to watch Henry compete on season 14 of “American Ninja Warrior” beginning June 6.