Tech undergrad competes for title of American Ninja Warrior

Monday, June 11, 2018
Watch Elie Cohen's audition tape for American Ninja Warrior on NBC. His run through the show's intense obstacle course airs 8 p.m. June 13.

Elie Cohen has taken his fitness regime to the extreme — and could take home the title of American Ninja Warrior for his efforts.

The Georgia Tech civil engineering student will compete on the NBC reality show June 13, tackling an intense obstacle course that forces contestants to defy gravity and push themselves to their physical limits.

“Getting picked for the show was the hardest part,” Cohen told the Marietta Daily Journal. “I’ve been training for a few years and run in some local competitions, so once I got going and calmed my initial nerves, I actually felt very comfortable moving through the course. The brutal part for me was the time spent waiting in between submitting the application and finding out that I was actually cast on the show.”

The episode featuring Cohen’s run through the course airs at 8 p.m. Cohen told his hometown paper that he’s long wanted to appear on the show.

From the Daily Journal:

He’s spent the last few years training for the show and competing in local ninja competitions, but in order to differentiate himself from the other applicants, he featured his other talents in his audition video.

Cohen performed an original mandolin composition as the backing track to his highlight reel. His performance — as well as his 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame, which is much larger than the average competitor — made him stand out from the thousands of other applicants.

His pitch worked. Labeling himself the “world’s strongest mandolinist” in his tape intrigued the producers of the show, who plan to have him demonstrate his picking skills before running the obstacle course.

“‘American Ninja Warrior’ exists at a unique intersection for me between two big passions of mine, which are fitness and bluegrass,” Cohen said. “Not many people get the opportunity to play mandolin in front of a national TV audience before taking on the world’s most challenging obstacle course, so for that I consider myself lucky.”

He regularly performs around Atlanta with his brother, David, in the guitar-mandolin bluegrass duo the Cohen Brothers Band, as well as with four-piece bluegrass group High Lonesome.

Regardless of what happens in this year’s competition, Elie Cohen plans to be back for next season.

“My commitment to fitness and ninja training is year-round,” he said. “I’m already composing a song for next year’s submission video.”