Ninja mom: Spokane teacher sets sights on national finals

Taylor Newquist
Sports Editor, Statesman Examiner

Climbing up a vertical wall and becoming the first mother to hit the buzzer on the American Ninja Warrior course was just another obstacle that Sandy Zimmerman has had to overcome in her life.

Zimmerman, a 44-year-old Spokane PE teacher and mother of three, grew up in a military family moving from place to place with her father. She spent time on welfare and in the foster system, suffering from abuse. But she said those are the things that shaped her as a person. She ended up at Selkirk High School in Ione, where the support of a small town propped her up.

“I came from Tacoma and it was really a cultural shock when we moved up in ninth grade,” Zimmerman said. “It honestly was what saved me … as much as I was really angry to move at that age it was a blessing to have those people around and help me through those tough times.”

Zimmerman excelled in basketball and went on to play at the University of Gonzaga on a full-ride scholarship. Aside from basketball, she also was a national judo champion—physical activity was a major influence on her life and when her family discovered the show American Ninja Warrior she knew she had to give it a try.

“We just randomly saw it on tv and I looked into the application process.”

Zimmerman had a friend help her with the submission video and earned a chance to compete out of a pool of 70,000 contestants. She first tried out on season 8 of ANW—which is an athletic competition show where participants go through a number of obstacles that require intense core strength and balance.

Read the full story in the Dec. 16 edition of the Deer Park Tribune.


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