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Inside James and Allyssa's Epic Engagement Moment on American Ninja Warrior
Ninja Nation was thrilled for these two.
American Ninja Warrior fan favorites James McGrath and Allyssa Beird delighted viewers during the Season 14 premiere when they got engaged. Here's what happened, exactly: After successfully completing the first obstacle course of the season, McGrath decided to celebrate by popping the question to Beird. An injury has prevented him from competing since Season 10, so this moment carried even more resonance. (Beird started competing on American Ninja Warrior in Season 8.)
For the couple—who connected at a Ninja training gym and have been dating for six years—this proposal made total sense. As they tell NBC Insider, it simultaneously blended their passion for Ninja, their love for each other (of course), and also: It properly celebrated McGrath's return to the game.
"I was like, 'When I do finally come back, I'm absolutely going for the Mega Wall, and I'm absolutely getting it,'" McGrath says. "And what could make that moment a little more special? I'd been thinking of different ways I could have proposed to her, and that one just kind of stood out to me, and it felt right."
Right is an understatement. The proposal went off without a hitch, with both Beird and McGrath getting emotional on camera. But for Beird, her tears weren't just for the proposal. She tells NBC Insider McGrath planned on proposing on the show two years ago—but his injury prevented him from doing it. So when he finally popped the question, it symbolized more than just their relationship reaching the next level. It marked a turning point in McGrath's life: He's no longer injured, and he's competing again. That in itself made Beird cry.
"I was already in tears when he finished Obstacle 5 'cause I was just so excited," she says. "Going through a journey with somebody you love and seeing them go through obstacles like physical therapy and surgery—which are not obstacles everybody wants to pick—seeing him go through that and never lose his drive was so inspiring. I want the world for him, so to see him back on that course, I was like, 'This is it. This is his moment!' And by the time he got up the wall, I was legitimately sobbing. I think part of [my emotion] was I was taken by surprise [by the engagement]. But the other part of it, I'm like, 'This was part of his plan two years ago, and he's doing it!' I had pride for him—and then I'm like, 'Oh, yeah, now [our engagement is] official.'"
McGrath adds, "I feel like in life there are few perfect moments, and everything just came together perfectly to create that moment. It was super special because I've lived the past 10 years of my life on the show. I met Allyssa on the show. The show's changed my life in so many extremely meaningful ways. And to be able to [propose] on that platform just meant everything to me."
Of course, the next question on fans' minds is: Will Beird and McGrath get married on the show? Understandably, they'll be keeping that moment for themselves—but they say American Ninja Warrior will always have an important place in their relationship.
"Exercise and Ninja are my outlets," Beird says. "It's my happy place after a stressful day, so being able to merge that part of my life with the person I love is great. [James is] so supportive—both in and out of the gym."
American Ninja Warrior airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.