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Ruthie Bolton bold and mighty on American Ninja Warrior

Sacramento Monarchs legend Ruthie Bolton followed in Tamika Catchings’ footsteps as a former WNBA player who competed on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior.

Ruthie Bolton runs the obstacle course at American Ninja Warrior.
Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Former Sacramento Monarchs guard and 1997 First Team All-WNBA selection Ruthie Bolton competed in Season 13 of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior on June 4 at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Wash. She ran the obstacle course with other former WNBA greats Teresa Weatherspoon and Tamika Catchings cheering her on.

Though her run wasn’t very successful, Bolton represented the WNBA well by embodying the ninja spirit.

Before participating, Bolton spoke with Nikki Lee of American Ninja Warrior Nation about her motivation:

I’m doing it for a cause. I’m being bold, being mighty, being the best version of me for friends. I had a couple of my friends, part of my team, they unfortunately got killed in a car accident six weeks ago. ... I was willing to risk it all to honor them by standing up in a “be bold, be mighty, be you” shirt and really just being bold. And whatever happens after that happens. Because I’ve learned in life there’s more than one way to win. So being able to honor them through this experience, that’s the reason I did it. ... I said that they would be very proud for me to stand there and represent this cause. The cause is so much bigger than just this.

I’m excited to be here, I want to have fun and I’ve met some amazing people already, it’s already a win-win. I’ve met some women here that I’ma be friends with for life, seriously. I love the camaraderie. It’s almost like an Olympic opening ceremony. So many amazing people that worked their butts off to get to a place. It’s a beautiful experience already.

Bolton added the following as a message to the show’s audience:

Be bold, be mighty, be the version that God wants you to be and no matter what learn how to rise above circumstances and know that your situation does not have to be your destination and if you fall down get back up. ... Life is about a journey.

Catchings, who is the general manager of the Indiana Fever, participated in American Ninja Warrior in 2019.

Bolton, who played her entire career in Sacramento, averaged 19.4 points and 2.3 steals per game in 1997 and has the special honor of being a part of the WNBA’s inaugural First Team. She was joined on that list by Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie, Eva Nemcova and Tina Thompson.