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Nick Hanson’s whole outlook on Ninja Warrior changed with just two words

“Just jump.”

Tyler Golden/NBC

Nick Hanson scored one of the biggest moments of American Ninja Warrior’s Los Angeles Qualifiers with his run up the Mega Wall. In the process of getting to that point, he had swept through five obstacles. One of which had taken out a quarter of the entire field of competitiors.

Nick has an easy demeanor to him that comes out both on the course and in person. Through his three seasons on the show, he has stayed close to his roots and his community. Nick branded himself the “Eskimo Ninja” to reflect his lineage as a native Alaskan person. He has built an obstacle course at his home in Unalakleet out of the driftwood he finds. And he’s a straight forward and interesting person to speak with.

Here are a few things you learn about Nick Hanson in a short conversation.

  • His heritage and his home are incredibly important to him.
  • He doesn’t take his position as a role model lightly.
  • He didn’t get up the Mega Wall by chance.
  • That’s not the end of his goals this season.

We’ll let him tell you about the his life as a Ninja Warrior and that incredible run in his own words.

On nerves:

“Getting nervous about an obstacle is what makes you fail. Your biggest fear leads to your greatest tragedy. I try to not get really nervous.”

The moment that changed his mindset

“The point that took me to the next level in my athletic career was when I was at World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, which is the native games that we play up in Alaska. I was getting ready to do my final Scissor Broad Jump, which is basically like a Triple Jump in track, but you don’t get a run up or anything. You have to stand in a starting position and it’s a straight broad jump. Three broad jumps in a row basically. I was getting ready to go, and one of the competitors, he was about 19 at the time, he said, ‘Just jump.’

And I was like, ‘Okay.’ And it was in that moment that I relaxed. It was like nothing else mattered. Just go. Have fun. Just do it. Those two words that he said, ‘Just jump.’ In that moment it was the mental relaxation where I can now go up to anything and be like ‘Dude, just go for it.’ I think about that moment every single time. I went for that Scissor Broad Jump and I broke the world record doing that particular jump. I look back on that every single time and think if I can get a world record in that moment, I can go up on these obstacles and just go for it.”

Inspiring other Alaskans:

“I can’t count the number of fans who’ve come up to me and said they were going to try out. When they were old enough they were going to do it. When I see kids do stuff like that and they’re trying to give me the credit for it, I’m like, you know, this is exactly why I’m doing this. These people who’ve moved out of Alaska but are near and dear to Ninja stuff and they want to try it now because I’m the first Alaskan to get out there and make something of it. That’s what motivated me every single year to keep coming back.”

Wanting the Mega Wall

“You put something like that at the end of something? You get a chance and then you still get a chance at the 14’6”? No problem. You give it a try. You could win $10,000 but you also get the chance to make up something they put in front of you. It’d be an insult to the crew not to do it.

I really love doing Warped Wall stuff. When they had the Mega Wall in All-Stars I really wanted to be on that. I trained for it last season thinking I was going to get on Mega Wall (in All-Stars), and then they took it out. I was like, ‘WHAT?’ But then they added the 18”, and I was like, ‘Yes! It’s back and it’s almost mandatory.’

Where the $10,000 is going

“That’s family money. It’s going towards the house. Making sure the house gets finished up. Making sure I can get my family started in the right way.”

The next goal in sight

“My goal this year is... I don’t care about National Finals, I don’t care about anything else. I want to be a City Finalist. I want the patch. I want to be standing up there looking down saying I did this. That’s my goal and my focus now.”