Marietta teens Ethan Bartnicki and Christopher Harding Jones make ‘American Ninja Warrior’ finals

Ethan Bartnicki is still in the running for the $1 million on Monday night

Two Marietta teens made it into the “American Ninja Warrior” Las Vegas finals, and one will be in the final episode tonight vying for $1 million.

Christopher Harding Jones just missed stage 2 of the final round by seconds last Monday while Ethan Bartnicki was one of 11 competitors who made it to the next round.

Christopher, 18, had plenty of time going into the Fly Hooks obstacle but he lost valuable seconds taking extra swings trying to get himself off. He just missed the 2:50 cutoff time but did go further than any other rookie Ninja player this season.

His 17-year-old friend Ethan, an aspiring music producer who is attending Georgia Piedmont Technical College this fall, followed him last Monday. He is just 5 feet, 4 inches tall and 114 pounds but flew through the stage one course with 11 seconds to spare.

Christopher lost his dad to lung cancer in 2020 at age 60 after he fought it for six years. His father, he said, got him into ninja, building ad-hoc ninja courses in his basement and under the porch. Christopher also trained at Ninja Quest, a gym in Marietta that shut down recently.

“This gave us a way to bond,” Christopher said an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this month. “I am grateful for the time we had together. We didn’t expect to have that much time.”

At the time, Christopher said he had pretty severe ADHD and a sensory processing disorder. “I had a hard time with coordination and spatial awareness,” he said. “Doing sports was really hard, but Ninja was a godsend. When I started, I couldn’t even do a single pull-up. It was a lot of hard work. I was so passionate about it and the Ninja community was so supportive. It’s been a way for me to be athletic despite my lack of athleticism.”

In the end, he said, “I’m surprised I did as well as I did. It’s a dream come true.”

Ethan, who previously competed on “American Ninja Warrior Junior,” also trained at Ninja Quest. “We had this group of eight,” he said. “We’d train together and have fun hanging out. It didn’t seem like we were working out but after two years together we were all super ripped and good at Ninja. We didn’t even notice. It never got old for us.”

As for going on the show, it’s “been a dream for both of us since we were little kids,” Ethan said. “Now we’re doing this together. It has been so much fun supporting each other.”

“Having Ethan there was super helpful,” Christopher said. “It’s like having someone who knows my ability and my skills, a training partner who could push me.”


“American Ninja Warrior,” 8 p.m. on Monday, the season finale on NBC and available on Peacock the next day