Q&A: UT alumna discusses experience on NBC athletic game show ‘Titan Games’

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of NBC-Vivian Zink | Daily Texan Staff

UT sociology alumna Ashley Huhn (‘12) takes the bull by the horns competing in NBC’s new show “Titan Games,” inspired and hosted by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Everyday individuals compete in grueling athletic contests that push the boundaries of emotional and physical strain in this new hit NBC show. Each contestant competes against one of the original team of six elite Titans and fends off competitors after securing their spot as the next Titan.

The Daily Texan had a chance to speak with Huhn about joining the show, competing and its impact on her “normal life” after her episode aired Jan. 17.

The Daily Texan:  What inspired you to enter the contest?

Ashley Huhn: My sixth graders heard me say NBC and “The Rock” in the same sentence. I was standing in my classroom with them when I got the call from LA in February. They were working on some group project, and I remember after I answered and said “Who with NBC? The Rock?” pencils dropped and my kids erupted. I promised them that I would do it for them.

DT: What kept you going when you felt challenged while you were preparing for the contest and competing?

AH: Probably two of the strongest motivations is, one, I’m adopted from birth. My biological mom (was) diagnosed with stage four breast cancer right before I got that phone call from LA to compete in the show. The timing of that call and her diagnosis allowed me to thank her. I wanted her to know that the decision she made almost 29 years ago to give me up for adoption to the most incredible set of parents I could’ve ever dreamt of was not the wrong decision. My other motivation was I promised my grandmother that I’d score for her in my first soccer game during senior year of high school, and those were my last words I ever spoke to her. I ended up getting hurt and didn’t score, so it was then my mission to make that up to her for the rest of my life.

DT: How has this contest impacted your life and what have you gotten out of it?

AH: I’ve got the most amazing platform to be able to tell my story and get the message out that I’ve been trying to for so long. (It’s) taken … a lot of confidence and a lot of mental strength. It was a stressful situation to not know what I was getting into physically and knowing how to stay mentally stable during that.

DT: How long did it take you to prepare for this competition? How exactly did you prepare?

AH: My preparation has been for the last 25 years. I’ve been doing CrossFit for about three years. But (NBC) didn’t really tell us what we would be doing at all. They gave us a hint here and there and were like, “Well, remember that we’re paired with American Ninja Warrior, so maybe think of American Gladiators.” So, I tried combining the two worlds as best I could and went extra heavy in CrossFit and Strongman type stuff.