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When you watch a game show on television, you generally want to see someone emerge victorious at the end of it. Viewers of NBC’s athletics-gone-psycho series American Ninja Warrior have been waiting seven entire seasons to see someone take the big prize, but it finally happened tonight during the Season 7 finale. And not just once, mind you, but TWICE. But only one person could emerge as the million-dollar winner, and that man was Isaac Caldiero. Let us all have a few muscle cramps in his honor.
A busboy and professional rock climber whose upper body strength is phenomenal, Caldiero is probably familiar to American Ninja Warrior fans, as he’s competed several times in the past. But he’d never made it quite as far as he did during tonight’s episode, in which he conquered the increasingly difficult Stage 3 while hardly seeming like he was even straining himself. He wasn’t alone in doing so, though.
Maryland native and sports cameraman Geoff Britten also made it through Stage 3. So how did the show pick which of the men took home the grand prize? They put them both through Stage 4, Mt. Midoriayama, a tall-as-all-get-out (75-foot) rope climb that must be completed in under 30 seconds. Britten went first and hit the red button up top just before the timer hit zero. And then Caldiero came in and scaled that rope as if a million dollars were on the line –which was timely – and he ended up beating Britten by 3 seconds. I can’t think of any time in my life where I’ve been 3 seconds away from something so life-changing that wasn’t devastating in nature like a traffic accident or something.
You can watch Caldiero’s entire finale performance (it’s okay to call it that, right?) in the video below.
It looks like he won’t have to worry about being a busboy for much longer, and he almost definitely has a career ahead of him in something related, like the potential American Gladiators reboot. Although perhaps he could work as a coach or advisor on the new series that The Biggest Loser creator is putting together that looks at what it takes to train for a show like American Ninja Warrior. Or hell, maybe even something on the group-based Spartan Race, the proposed new competition series from the producers of American Ninja Warrior.
Whatever happens to him in the future, I’m sure Isaac Caldiero will be celebrating the present in style, probably with a lot of ice and muscle cream. Congratulations to both him and Geoff Britten for a job supremely well done.