He runs with bulls. He dives for oysters. He works with sea turtles. He wrestles crocodiles. He’s been attacked by a sheep. Now he’s a ninja.
NBC’s American Ninja Warrior boasts “the hardest obstacle course in the world,” according to Eagle Scout Jackson Meyer. And he should know, he’s run the course and – as you can already tell – seen a lot of the world.
You may have caught Meyer’s appearance on the American Ninja Warrior season premiere tonight. If you watched the show, you couldn’t miss him. He’s the competitor who ran the course in a Scouting uniform.
He’s been a dedicated Scout his whole life, but inspiration to add Ninja Warrior to his résumé hit last summer.
After work Meyer would wind down by watching American Ninja Warrior.
“I quickly became a ‘couch ninja’, thinking ‘I can do that. That looks easy,’” Meyer said.
With a little encouragement and a love for creating videos, Meyer applied to run the American Ninja Warrior course. To his shock, he was selected.
Don’t let Meyer’s seemingly short path to landing a spot on the show fool you. It’s not easy.
To apply to compete, contestants can wait in line for a chance to run the course as a walk-on or submit a video application. Meyer opted for the latter. Fifty thousand applied this season and around 500 were invited to run the course.
But getting on the show isn’t even the hardest part. The competition challenges contestants to make it through an intense course to qualify for an even harder course. This goes on for six rounds. And the courses are brutal. No one has won in the six previous seasons of the U.S. show, which is based on a Japanese version called Sasuke.
Eagle Ascends to American Ninja Warrior
Grip strength is the name of the game for Ninja Warriors. So how did Meyer master his?
He didn’t fully launch into training until he was selected by NBC for the show. And that was only a month before he was set to run the course.
“I feel like I trained in the activities I normally do,” Meyer said.
He rock climbs, surfs, lifts weights, and, as you can see in his submission video, dances. But he knew he had to up his training when his call to the course came.
Meyer acknowledged, “It’s an insane obstacle course that requires a lot of strength, a lot of muscle memory, and a lot of body control. When they called me, I took my training to the next level.”
And he didn’t take to the course alone. Besides Jackson’s mother, grandmother, girlfriend, and girlfriend’s mom who supported him onsite (in “Troop Jackson 642” shirts), hoards of Scouts joined the aptly clad Eagle in spirit.
Jackson’s decision to wear his Scouting uniform on the course was not just strategy to standout but a nod to what he’s already achieved.
“Being an Eagle Scout has been huge for me in my college life,” Meyer noted. “It’s helped me get a bunch of scholarships, shown employers I’m dedicated and able to stick with something long term. It shows I’m motivated and honest.”
Now the whole world has seen what this Eagle can do. And he has advice for his fellow Scouts: “Don’t let stereotypes or people tell you what you can and can’t do.”
He explained the portrait of Scouts obsessed with tying knots is a funny one but entirely false. He contends what Scouts can accomplish is mind blowing.
“We learn so much that a lot of people don’t think we learn,” Meyer said. “We’re involved in our communities. We’re capable of more than most people. Be proud you’re a Scout, and stand up for it.
Jackson Meyer is living these words. He’s taken on the seemingly impossible. And he’s doing it with Scouting pride.
Head to http://www.nbc.com/american-ninja-warrior to learn more about the show and catch highlights from tonight’s premiere.