Isaac Caldiero was the first man to ever become an “American Ninja Warrior” Champion. The popular TV show puts competitors up against a series of obstacles that have been deemed practically impossible, that is, until the season finale in 2015. After 7 seasons and approximately 3,500 previous competitors, Caldiero completed all four stages of the show’s obstacle course. And it is probably no surprise that he grew up as a Boy Scout.
Scouting Builds Champions
Isaac Caldiero Grew up in Orem, Utah. An outdoorsman’s haven, Orem sits at the foot of a mountain range with easy access to some of the best hiking and climbing spots in the country. It was this perfect location paired with an enthusiastic Scout Troop that helped Caldiero reach his goal of becoming the First American Ninja Warrior Champion.
In an interview with Outside Magazine, Caldieor explains how he Scouting helped him get his start in climbing.
“I grew up involved in the Boy Scouts of America and that really helped me develop my passion for the outdoors,” Caldiero said. “When I was 15, a close friend of mine and his brother were big climbers and they took me out. From that point on, I took to it. I started cleaning bathrooms at the local gym in exchange for a climbing membership. Got my first sponsorship a few years later, then started traveling in the States and then around the world, developing new climbing areas.”
From there, Caldiero launched into a life of traveling, scoring odd jobs, and, of course, scaling impressive peaks.
And he’s not this season’s only competitor with a Scouting background who’s up for repeat American Ninja Warrior quests.
Early in season seven, viewers met Eagle Scout Jackson Meyer, dubbed the #NinjaScout because he wore his uniform on the course. Meyer’s run ended in the Venice city finals, but he says he hopes to return to the show.
Watch Caldiero’s winning run here.
You Can Do Hard Things
Although Caldiero took home the championship with seemingly perfect ease, it wasn’t easy getting there for him. In fact, Caldiero had been on the show for three years. His first two tries, in 2013 and 2014, ended in tough falls that eliminated him from the competition.
After his first fall however, he trained harder than he ever had. He even built a replica of some of the competition obstacles in his parent’s backyard. He spent every day practicing and building his strength. However, he was eliminated during his second attempt as well.
And still, Caldiero kept trying. This time, he focused not only on being physically prepared, but mentally as well.
It was an intense, seemingly impossible challenge, yet Caldiero completed the tasks with what seemed like perfect ease. His dedication had paid off and Caldiero proves that exploring new skills and a little hard work can change a young Scout’s life.
Header image by David becker/NBC