Australian Ninja Warrior - Jordan Papandrea 

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Senior International Men’s Artist gymnast Jordan Papandrea is one of the many talented gymnasts that has taken on the Australian Ninja Warrior course. So why do gymnasts make the best ninjas? We caught up with the Manly Warringah  athlete to find out.  

Why did you try out for Australian Ninja Warrior?

I guess because it is so closely related to gymnastics. Gymnastics is quite a strict competitive sport and Ninja was a bit more relaxed and something different. Some of my friends that are also gymnasts were on the show and that lead me to want to try out.  

Did you tell anyone when you found out?

When I found out that I was on the show I only told my family and close friends. I wanted to try and keep it as a bit of a secret and surprise for my friends when the show started appearing on TV. 

Why do you think so many gymnasts succeed in Australian Ninja Warrior? 

We train in such a similar way – lots of upper body strength, aerial awareness, and figuring out how to get from A to B and quickly as possible. I think it’s (gymnastics is) one of the top sports.  

How did you prepare?

Just training gymnastics is so closely related so any hours that I put in the gym definitely came through and paid off for the hours I put in training for ninja. Although closer to the competition I started things like rock climbing and ninja specific straining. There is a lot to do for grip strength and holding onto the obstacles so that definitely helped me get through the course. 

Were you more nervous for Australian  Ninja Warrior or for a gymnastics competition?

I’d say a gymnastics competition. There is a lot of pressure for a gym comp -you train everyday, most days and you expect a lot from yourself. In Ninja, there a lot of cameras and people watching, which is definitely pressure. But for me it was to get out there and have a good time. 

Have you had any setbacks? 

In 2017 I found out that I had a fracture in one of my vertebrae so that did stop be competing in a few competitions and set me back. Then this year I broke my leg in state trial 1.  It’s been kind of unlucky but at the same time it gives you a good reason and a good chance to focus on your weaknesses and turn them into your strengths. 

Any advice for young ninjas?

Put yourself in environments that you are unfamiliar with. Play around with things, be okay with falling down and get up and try new things. 

What’s Next? 

I’m still recovering from my most recent injury (broken foot). That’s going really well. It’s still prohibiting some things in training but  I’m trying to achieve my goals, little and big. I’m just trying to get my leg back to normal and hopefully go better in the next (competition) cycle. Other than that I am still keeping up with some ninja training, playing music and just enjoying myself! 

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