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Glenbrook North student Ann Slivken will be featured on “American Ninja Warrior Junior,” which premieres Saturday, Oct. 13 on Universal Kids. Photos Submitted.
Slivken and other girls featured on the show pose for a group picture. Sixty-four young athletes from the 13-14 age group were selected.
Slivken scales her way up a rock wall while training.
Martin Carlino, Editor
10:41 am CDT October 10, 2018

Northbrook resident Ann Slivken considers herself to be quite the thrill-seeker.

She’s climbed trees, ran obstacle courses and has even participated in ninja-style training. 

Despite her adventurous nature, the Glenbrook North freshman never imagined she would get to showcase her daredevil skills for an audience of millions. 

Slivken, and 63 other 13-14-year-old aspiring ninjas, will be featured on the first season of “American Ninja Warrior Junior,” which will air on Universal Kids starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 13.

“American Ninja Warrior Junior” will feature a similar version of the notorious obstacle course from the popular 18-and-over version of the show on NBC.

Slivken said she first got word of the show when she noticed an online advertisement for it in April. As a result, she submitted a nomination video that showcased her abilities on similar courses.   

A few short months later, she got the good news that she was selected as one of the 64 young athletes to be featured on the show. 

“I was kind of surprised,” Ann Slivken said. “After that, I just started training more, because there was only about a month until filming.” 

The filming of the show in Los Angeles started in mid-July and lasted nearly a week. Before the competition commenced, Slivken said she and the other competitors had the chance to do test runs of the course. 

Because of contractual restraints with NBC, Slivken could not reveal exact details of the course but did say it was “really intense.”  The course does feature the show’s famous Warped Wall, according to a press release sent from Universal Kids. 

“American Ninja Warrior Junior” also paired the young ninja warriors with all-star mentors who achieved previous success while running the course in the NBC version. Slivken was paired with Meagan Martin, a prior finalist on the NBC show.

“I was just so surprised (being paired with her) and I thought that was one of the coolest parts,” Ann Slivken said.

To prepare for her participation on the show, Slivken bumped up her training at Ultimate Ninjas, located in Libertyville, to twice a week. She first started training there in December of last year.

Slivken said that Mike Silenzi, the gym’s owner, was one of her biggest inspirations while training to run the course. 

Now months after the show’s filming, Slivken recalls something other than the competition aspect as her favorite memory from the experience. 

“I just remember really enjoying the community I was with,” she said. “I met one friend who lives across the country ... we all now have a group chat with about 30 of us.” 

Elizabeth Slivken, Ann’s mother, couldn’t have been more proud of her adventurous daughter for competing on the show. 

“It was just a really great (experience) for her,” Elizabeth Slivken said. “We’re very proud of her — and surprised.” 

Already a member of the school’s math team and choir, Ann Slivken hopes to participate in gymnastics and track and field at GBN.