''American Ninja Warrior'' fans were wowed recently by contestant Kacy Catanzaro's incredible performance

By James Hibberd
Updated August 01, 2014 at 04:00 AM EDT

Could the first person to beat NBC’s American Ninja Warrior course be a woman? Gymnast Kacy Catanzaro, 24, shattered the show’s Plexiglas ceiling by becoming the first female competitor in six seasons to complete its preliminary obstacle course; then her near-insane semifinals run went viral on July 14, racking up 8 million views on YouTube alone. Next she’ll tackle the finals course in Las Vegas (airing on Sept. 1). But already she’s inspiring other would-be ninjas, says executive producer Kent Weed, who notes that after Catanzaro scaled the show’s 14-foot Warped Wall, two other women did the same: ”She basically proved ‘We can do this!”’ As for Catanzaro, she’s just stunned by the attention. She told EW Radio, ”I had no idea how many people would care so much.”