After seven seasons and thousands of competitors, NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” finally crowned a winner, after not one, but two competitors completed the fourth and final stage of the challenge for the first time in the show’s history.
Since the series began in 2009, no athlete had ever progressed past the third stage of the competition, but in the season seven finale, both Geoff Britten and Isaac Caldiero finished the seemingly impossible course. Britten completed Stage 4 first, but Caldiero subsequently beat his time by 3.6 seconds, enabling him to win the challenge and the $1 million grand prize.
Watch Caldiero’s performance on Stage 3 and his Stage 4 win below:
The series is based on Japanese competition series “Sasuke,” which has run for 31 seasons since 1997. Only four competitors have ever completed the course and achieved “total victory” in the Japanese version of the show. The “American Ninja Warrior” season finale was held in Las Vegas, and the course consisted of four stages and 23 total obstacles. The competitors had to successfully complete all three stages before tackling the ultimate Stage 4 obstacle, Mt. Midoriyama, which stands at 8-stories tall with a 75-foot rope climb. Britten and Caldiero had 30 seconds to scale the rope and hit the buzzer.
“Winning this event always seemed impossible,” Caldiero said. “As the first American Ninja Warrior I want to use this opportunity to inspire the world to find your impossible and conquer it.”
Caldiero is a 33-year-old rock climber and busboy who honed his skills by building replicas of Stage 3 in his back yard, while Britten is a 36-year-old sports cameraman.
“American Ninja Warrior” is executive produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions founders Arthur Smith and Kent Weed (“Hell’s Kitchen,” “Wizard Wars,” “Ellen’s Design Challenge”), along with Brian Richardson and Anthony Storm.
An encore of the finale airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the Esquire Network.