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The SCV’s own ‘Grandpa Ninja’

Kelvin Antoine competes and finds fame on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

Posted: June 17, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Updated: June 17, 2012 1:30 a.m.
Kelvin Antoine, 53, of Canyon Country, has gained fame as “Grandpa Ninja” on “American Ninja Warrior” shown on NBC TV. Kelvin Antoine, 53, of Canyon Country, has gained fame as “Grandpa Ninja” on “American Ninja Warrior” shown on NBC TV.
Kelvin Antoine, 53, of Canyon Country, has gained fame as “Grandpa Ninja” on “American Ninja Warrior” shown on NBC TV.

They call him “Grandpa Ninja,” and everywhere he goes, Kelvin Antoine 53, is greeted by fans and well-wishers.

As the oldest contestant on “American Ninja Warrior,” seen on cable channel G4 and more widely this summer on NBC, Antoine has captivated the interest of couch potatoes and fitness fanatics alike.

Television critics have described Antoine as the “breakout star of ‘American Ninja Warrior.’”

“My passion is health,” he said. “I love to work out, I love to compete. I’ve always been a competitive person.”
Antoine, of Canyon Country, was born on the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. He came to the United States with his father at age 16.

They lived in New York, where his father still resides. He grew up playing cricket, soccer and basketball.

Antoine, who still speaks with the lilting accent of the Caribbean, came to the Santa Clarita Valley in his 30s at the urging of a cousin.

He met his wife, Sandy, and settled down to raise a family that includes two children, Jamil and Charron. He is also the grandfather of six, ages 5 to 8 months, hence the “Grandpa Ninja” moniker.

Antoine said he has watched the Japanese version of “American Ninja Warrior” for years.

“Sasuke” is a Japanese sports entertainment television special in which 100 competitors attempt to complete a four-stage obstacle course.

When Antoine heard that the show was coming to America, he sent in a video and was accepted as a competitor in 2010.

However, he failed to advance in his first attempt. He also failed to advance last year.

He was invited back again this year and earned a spot in the Southwest regionals. However, he failed to overcome the last obstacle, a 14-foot wall.

Despite being eliminated, Antoine urged fans to watch the finale, to be broadcast July 23 on NBC.

“I can’t say anything because of my contact, but people should watch,” he said. “You never know what will happen.”

He said many of the other competitors on “American Ninja Warrior” have credited him with “being an inspiration.”
“I believe that age is just a number,” he said. “You have to take care of yourself.”

“American Ninja Warrior” isn’t Antoine’s first try at a television fitness competition program. He previously tried out for “American Gladiators.”

A misunderstanding led to his disqualification during tryouts at Universal Studios.

To train for “American Ninja Warrior,” Antoine runs the bleachers at College of the Canyons stadium, does sit ups, jumps rope and works at increasing his upper body strength.

“To run the course, you need to have upper body strength,” he said.

Antoine also watches his diet. He believes in eating healthy and consumes mostly fruit, vegetables, chicken and fish. He eats little red meat. To stay in shape, his advice is to get plenty of sleep, drink 12 glasses of water a day, stay active and watch diet and nutrition.

To see Kelvin Antoine on “American Ninja Warrior” visit NBC On Demand on Time Warner Cable. The finale of “American Ninja Warrior” NBC 9 p.m. July 23.


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