HOLY SHIT: Watch One-Legged Pro Wrestler Run ‘American Ninja Warrior’ Course
NBC and Esquire Network's American Ninja Warrior started out as niche reality competition show, but just like many of its reality predecessors, it has since grown to become a national sensation. Amateur and professional athletes from around the country vie - sometimes waiting in weeks-long lines - for a chance to run the insane obstacle courses. And as you will see in some of the show's tear-jerking packages, many families view ANW as the opportunity of a lifetime; a chance to prove their own mettle, to bring hope to those fighting disease and disabilities and to mix it up with some of the greatest (and coolest) athletes out there.
Monday evening's Indianapolis qualifier featured ANW stars like Meagan Martin, Brian Arnold and Lorin Bell as well as IndyCar superstar Helio Castronoves and NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who was cheered on by girlfriend and superstar driver Danica Patrick. Even Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles was there. But no presence was felt more than that of former WWE wrestler Zach Gowen, who made history as the first one-legged competitor in professional wrestling.
The 33-year-old, who lost his left leg to cancer at the age of eight, took to the grueling course by limping up the steps with his prosthetic leg. I can honestly say that what he proceeded to do after that will blow your mind.
Watching Gowen wrestle with one leg was incredible, but what he is able to do on a course that is clearly designed to be navigated with two legs is almost unbelievable. As an avid fan of the show, I said out loud while watching that I had no idea how he was going to get through those first three obstacles; particular the spinning log which had been brutalizing competitors all night long.
When he made it through that obstacle I jumped out of my seat. The support he received from the crowd, and the genuine look of wonder and pride on the other competitors' faces, was so very needed after spending yet another couple of days pouring over the details of a yet another tragedy.
Time and time again, amazing people in this world are proving what it means to be a fighter. After the horrifying events of the terrorist attack in Orlando this weekend, and with thousands of people mourning the senseless violence that took their loved ones from them, it can be hard to feel inspired by humanity. Sometimes you have to go looking for it, but on Monday night Zach Gowen did his part to deliver joy and hope in the most unlikely of places.
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