Simon to Appear on American Ninja Warrior
TPH Director of Administration to make second appearance on show
(HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA – September 3, 2020) – During the day, Nichelle Simon serves as the Director of Administration for Total Package Hockey (TPH). During her free time, Nichelle has been a coach for almost 20 years, played in the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) and appeared on American Ninja Warrior. This fall, she’ll make another appearance on American Ninja Warrior with an even greater story than when she first appeared three years ago.
It’s been a challenging few years for Simon. Following her first appearance on American Ninja Warrior in 2017, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It put her life and the goals she wanted to accomplish hold. But, she battled cancer and finished her chemotherapy treatments. Simon then went on to tryout and play for the Metropolitan Riveters of the NWHL.
“I did American Ninja Warrior in 2017, and I trained really hard for two years to get on it,” said Simon. “I didn’t get on TV, but made it out of 700,000 applicants and only about 700 were accepted. They only have time to show about 30% of the runners. Less than a year after I ran the course, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February of 2018. I dealt with that for about six months. I was supposed to tryout for the NWHL that June, and obviously I wasn’t able tryout or train. In August, when I had finished the chemo treatments, I started training again. I was 35 at the time. I trained from August to June of the next year. I tried out and made the Metropolitan Riveters less than a year after finishing chemo. I played for them last year.”
Simon played in 21 games as part of the defense corps for the Riveters in the 2019-20 season where she tallied two assists. She played and then everything was put on pause due to the pandemic, but more opportunities were still to come for her.
“I played for the Riveters, then COVID hit and I came home to Huntsville,” said Simon. “I was sitting outside eating dinner in June, and I get a call out of nowhere from American Ninja Warrior asking me to be on their show this year. I had three weeks to train for the show instead of a typical year and a half. Luckily I was already in hockey shape, but that’s still different than hockey shape.”
Most athletes preparing to participate in American Ninja Warrior train for many months before running the course. Simon had three weeks, but she took it in stride and was excited for the opportunity.
“It was super hard,” said Simon regarding the quick training schedule. “You can’t gain a whole lot in three weeks. You can exhaust and hurt yourself if you’re not careful. I did a bit of upper body training, but mostly just tried to get my weight down. Most of my focus was on nutrition and getting my mindset right. Most of it was a mental preparation. Lots of positive self talk and thinking through obstacles. Nothing was open due to the pandemic for anyone to train. A lot of it was just mental training.”
Each experience on American Ninja Warrior has been different for Simon. The first one took a year of training and was a journey for her to reach that goal. This time around, she’s was ready to simply enjoy the opportunity given all the challenges she’s recently faced.
“Honestly, there is a deep meaning there,” said Simon when comparing her experiences. “The first year I did American Ninja Warrior was the most intense because I trained so hard. I had to lose about 35 pounds and gain muscle. I changed my body completely the first time I did it. I was not a body type that would typically do American Ninja Warrior. It was an incredibly difficult journey the first time, and I was extremely proud of that. This time, it was still very meaningful, but it almost made it easier just to say that I’m going to go and have a good time and do the best I can and just enjoy the opportunity because it came up so quickly.”
No matter what, Total Package Hockey is proud of Simon and everything she’s accomplished. She’s the epitome of overcoming a challenge one faces and still achieving a set goal. American Ninja Warrior season 12 premiers this Monday, Labor Day, at 7:00PM Central on NBC. It’s not publicly released as to when or if Simon will make an appearance on the show, so you’ll have to watch every Monday at 7:00PM Central to catch her story and watch her run on the course.
Learn more about American Ninja Warrior here.