Elie Cohen is a bluegrass mandolinist, a rock climber and a civil engineering student at Georgia Tech, and recently the Atlanta native got to add American Ninja Warrior to the list.
In April, the Weber School grad and Ramah Darom alum traveled to the “American Ninja Warrior” Southeast regionals in Miami to compete on Season 10 of the NBC game show. The 26-year-old said he is sworn to secrecy about his results until after the show airs, but you can tune in to see how he did Wednesday, June 13, at 8 p.m. on NBC affiliate 11Alive.
Cohen spent the past few years training for “ANW” and competed in a number of local ninja competitions. Last summer he helped start a ninja program for campers at Ramah.
But he said the toughest part of the process wasn’t the training or even the actual competition. It was making the submission tape and getting cast.
“Getting picked for the show was the hardest part,” Cohen said. “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.”
For his submission tape, which can be seen below, Cohen used his other standout skill, mandolin. To get noticed among thousands of “ANW” submissions, he performed an original mandolin composition as the backing track to his highlight reel. Add that he is 6-foot-3 and weighs 215 pounds, which is much larger than the average “ANW” competitor, and Cohen definitely stood out from the crowd.
An avid bluegrass mandolinist, Cohen labeled himself the “World’s Strongest Man-dolinist” in his submission tape and said the producers of the show were excited about the idea of a mandolin-playing ninja. They even had him play a quick tune for the crowd before his run on the 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.”
Since competing on the show, Cohen has resumed his intense training regimen of rock climbing, weightlifting and trail running while finishing his final semester at Georgia Tech.
You can follow Elie on Instagram at @thebluegrassninja.
“My commitment to fitness and ninja training is year-round,” he said. “I’m already composing a song for next year’s submission video.”