In case you missed the jaw-dropping breaking news, Isaac Caldiero is back for Season 10 of American Ninja Warrior! Isaac was the first American Ninja Warrior champion after he completed Vegas’s fourth stage with the fastest time back in Season 7, but since that moment, the Ninja world has had to press on without the superstar. Some fans newer to the sport may not remember all of Isaac’s heroics, so we took the time to recap the million dollar winner’s rise to the top.
The legend began back in Season 5 when Isaac first broke onto the scene. After completing the Denver qualifying course, Isaac returned for his shot at the more difficult city finals layout. Using his incredible rock climbing strength, Caldiero flew through the course and showcased some of his signature confidence before soaring up the 30 foot climb to the buzzer. During this season, Isaac made it Stage One of Las Vegas but fell on the Jumping Spider.
A year later, Isaac was back with a vengeance. Once again, he was undefeated during the city portion of the season, completing both the qualifying and finals courses. When he returned to Vegas, Isaac got his rematch with the Jumping Spider-and this time he squashed it. However, on his first appearance on Stage Two, Isaac had a surprising fall on the Double Salmon Ladder.
One of the most impressive traits of the top ninjas is their resiliency. A tiny mistake can negate a year’s worth of hard work, but these athletes use those slip-ups as motivation. Each works tirelessly to improve on their weaknesses so that when they return to the course, they are ready. At the start of Season 7, Isaac was among the favorites to be the first American Ninja Warrior. However, in the Kansas City Finals, Isaac was defeated by the incredibly difficult Body Prop obstacle and, for the first time in three seasons, he failed to finish a city course.
But he didn’t get discouraged. Instead, Isaac entered Las Vegas the most focused he had ever been. He knew that if he could avoid mental lapses, he was strong enough to conquer all four stages. Looking as confident as ever, Isaac stormed through Stage One, survived Stage Two and then put his name into the history books forever with a Stage Three clearance.
We know what happened next. Isaac’s rope climb clinched the championship and the $1 million grand prize. The previously unbeatable Mt. Midoriyama had been conquered.
But the legend of Isaac Caldiero did not end with that magical rope climb. Arguably Isaac’s most clutch performance came soon after-at the USA vs. The World challenge. For the American contingent to win the 2015 title, Isaac Caldiero needed to finish Stage Three once again – this time with a cut off mark of 5:42. There would be no opportunity for rest.
Poised, focused and sporting that signature swagger, Caldiero embraced the roar of the crowd and once again brought us all to our feet. He stopped the clock at an unthinkable 4:28 to swing the trophy into the hands of the home team.
Isaac went out with a Jordan-esque finish. But now, just like the former Bulls great, he will come out of retirement to try and prove he’s still among the greatest in the game. Does he have a few more tricks left up his sleeve? If so, we may be adding more show-stopping videos to this post in a year’s time.