Liberty University

11/14/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/14/2018 16:08

2019 State Games of America at Liberty to include Ninja Challenge

November 14, 2018 : Liberty University News Service

The Ninja Challenge is coming to Liberty University next summer as one of five sports debuting at the 2019 State Games of America, set for July 31-Aug. 4.

'We want to be fun and to do something different all of the time because if we stay the same, we become stagnant,' Virginia Amateur Sports President Dan Foutz said at a press conference held at Liberty on Tuesday.

'Winning the bid to host the State Games of America is a testament to the hard work, determination, vision, and most of all, teamwork involving Liberty University, the City of Lynchburg, and Virginia Amateur Sports,' Foutz said. 'We are working hard in our preparations, and we are ready to pass into the national spotlight.'

The State Games is a biennial event that started in 1999 and is open to athletes across the country who have medaled in their respective state's games in the previous two years. (This year, athletes from Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland who haven't medaled in previous games are still eligible). This summer will mark the first time Liberty has hosted the State Games. Liberty has co-hosted the Virginia Commonwealth Games - the state's largest multiday sports festival - for two years. The Commonwealth Games will be held at Liberty again in 2019, in conjunction with the State Games.

In addition to Ninja Challenge (an obstacle competition patterned after NBC's 'American Ninja Warrior'), the other new sports added to the 50-plus event schedule include outdoor soccer, FootGolf, floorball, and yoga. (The last three will serve as the U.S. national championships.)

Maggi Thorne, a star on NBC's

Maggi Thorne - a four-time competitor on 'American Ninja Warrior' - attended Tuesday's press conference as a representative of the Ultimate Ninja Athlete Association (UNAA). She will serve as event coordinator for the competition and is hoping to attract a large field of athletes and spectators to the unique fitness-oriented obstacle course event. Three personalities from the NBC show spoke in Liberty's Convocation last fall.'Thank you Liberty and the State Games of America for giving us this opportunity and dreaming big,' Thorne said. 'We are so excited to be a part of (these) truly first-class facilities. … I'm amazed as I've walked around.'

About 15,000 athletes are expected to flock to Lynchburg at the end of July when Liberty's campus will be transformed into an Olympic village.

'An Olympic-styled festival in (Liberty's) world-class facilities will be produced for the benefit of the athletes and their families,' Lynchburg Mayor Treney Tweedy said. 'I am confident that we are ready and excited to welcome and entertain athletes and their families from across the country.'