After seven seasons of close calls, Isaac Caldiero did something none of his predecessors could by conquering the final course on American Ninja Warrior and taking home $1 million during Monday's finale.
The pressure was very much on Caldiero when he started Stage 4, as Geoff Britten had already gotten through Mt. Midoriyama. That meant he not only had to complete the stage, but he also had to do so in less time than Britten.
As seen in this video courtesy of the American Ninja Warrior YouTube account, Caldiero got the job done in spectacular fashion and beat Britten's time by a mere 3.6 seconds:
On the heels of his unlikely victory, Caldiero showed great sportsmanship by congratulating Britten, who came agonizingly close to making history in his own right:
According to Variety.com, Caldiero is a 33-year-old rock climber and busboy who prepared himself for American Ninja Warrior success by building obstacle courses and running through them in his own backyard.
Per Scott D. Pierce of the Salt Lake Tribune, Caldiero is originally from Colorado, although he now resides in Orem, Utah.
After becoming the first person to secure the American Ninja Warrior $1 million prize, the champion found it difficult to explain how he managed to do what so many others had failed in trying previously, according to Pierce:
It's like a dream right now. I don't know what just happened, but I just started flying. My legs, my arms were burning, but I just tried my best not to stop. …
Winning this event always seemed impossible. As the first 'American Ninja Warrior' (winner), I want to use this opportunity to inspire the world to find your impossible and conquer it.
Following Caldiero's remarkable performance, he received no shortage of congratulatory messages via social media.
American Ninja Warrior co-host Kristine Leahy was among those who were thrilled that Caldiero was the one who finally reigned supreme:
Even WWE superstar and rock star Chris Jericho couldn't help but be impressed by what Caldiero was able to accomplish:
American Ninja Warrior enthusiasts have been waiting for someone to set the bar for many years, and now both Caldiero and Britten have proven that it is possible to get through what once looked like an unbeatable set of obstacles.
Caldiero is undoubtedly the gold standard, which means all future competitors will attempt to match or top his dominance over Mt. Midoriyama.
There may be even more interest in being part of American Ninja Warrior moving forward because of Caldiero's showing, but don't be surprised if that leads to the show's organizers making things even more difficult in subsequent seasons.
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