Following the international success of the show, Russia also started filming its own version of Ninja Warrior, called Russian Ninja. During the casting, the producers posted calls on gymnastics forums, but in the end, only one famous gymnast participated.
Two-time Olympic medalist Anton Golotsutskov appeared on the last episode of the qualification round. In the interview before his run, he said:
“Honestly, I wanted to refuse because I really didn’t train and didn’t prepare. And my beloved wife said: “Come on, go on, try it. I want to see you on the medal podium again, on the peak”. I’ve already won everything that I deserved. So, if I will get into the semi-final, God permitting… I have to try at least. I finished my professional career in 2011 and since then I have to do bungee-jumping, skydiving, mountain skiing… I’m used to it, I’ve been doing gymnastics since I was 5 years old and I’m used to getting a dose of adrenaline into my blood every day. But recently I wasn’t able to do that. When you prepare for the Olympics, you train every day. But now I’m heading the CSKA gymnastics school and I don’t have time for training”.
Despite modestly claiming that he’s out of shape and didn’t prepare for the competition, Golotsutskov appeared to be in excellent shape and was able to finish the whole obstacle course without any problems. He made it to the next round which hasn’t been televised yet.
After the course, Golotsutskov said that he would be ashamed not to finish at least one obstacle because he’s a gymnast, but the first obstacle was indeed very hard. The hosts remembered that during floor final at the Olympics, he was singing the Little Mammoth song to himself and asked what song helped him compete at Russian Ninja. Turns out it was “You’re not like that” by Yulianna Karaulova, one of the Russian Ninja hosts.
When asked why he appeared to be more nervous here than at the Olympics, he said that the Olympics were familiar for him while this obstacle course was completely new which caused a burst of adrenaline.