One of the most highly anticipated returns of the American Ninja Warrior season was that of the reigning last Ninja standing. Joe Moravsky went farther than any other competitor in season nine, making it to the Time Bomb on Stage Three of the National Finals. It’s a title Joe has held twice now. He was also the last Ninja standing in season six. His consistency on the course is almost unmatched and he’s never failed to reach a buzzer on the Qualifying course.
Joe’s return for season 10 was fraught with build up. He was one of the Ninjas bumped from the Philadelphia region due to a rain-out. Philadelphia is the one city in Joe’s past where he did not clear the City Finals course. Moving to Minneapolis delayed his run by a few weeks. There was also the Mega Wall to consider. Amongst the fans, Joe was a favorite to take home the $10k.
While all this pressure was building, Joe still delivered a nearly flawless run on the course in Minneapolis. His sprint through the first two obstacles, and massive leap on the Ring Swing put him on pace for the fastest time of the night. The one error came when he touched the top of the Mega Wall, but was unable to latch on. While he still cleared the course in a blistering 2:38.38, Joe slumped down on the top of the Warped Wall, disappointed in that brief lapse.
We had a chance to talk to Joe before his run to learn more about what’s changed for the Ninja this past year and where he’s at heading into the full season.
“Over the last year Jacob, my son, was born. Pretty cool. I have a boy and a girl. It’s really awesome to have the best of both worlds. A lot of people say, and it certainly is, that it’s a big life change to have not only one, but two because we’re almost out numbered. He’s a great little guy.”
“Having two children has definitely affected my training schedule. It’s troubling because there’s always sacrifice. You either sacrifice training time to spend time with the family, or you’re sacrificing family time to spend time at the gym. It’s a rough road, but this is my life. It’s not just a career. It’s not a job, or for fun anymore. Although it is tons of fun. It’s a way of life. In order for it to be everything I need it to be for me and my family, I have to sacrifice things sometimes.”
“This year I’m just a little heavier. I joke, but it’s unfortunately not a joke, every kid I have adds five pounds to my over all weight. I hide it well, but it’s tough. When I started American Ninja Warrior I was about 160 (pounds), I’m hovering around 170 right now. A little heavy. I competed in Vegas last year at about 165. Five to seven pounds heavier right now. That’s the biggest change with me overall. Having more weight makes it more difficult to compete and do the things that we do.”
“But the good news is I was training at about 178 pounds. If you’re doing things at 178 pounds and you drop six pounds, all of a sudden it’s a big difference. I’ve got some muscles here.”
“The greatest thing for me is, to keep me physically and mentally healthy, is to relax. Stop working out for a few weeks. After Vegas (season nine), I worked out pretty hard. I was motivated. Then Thanksgiving, Christmas, the holidays, I kind of plateaued. I kind of dropped in physical form. But it was important. I was important to go out and enjoy Thanksgiving meals. It was important to just sit on the couch and relax. My body needs a break. I needed that rest to be in this shape now. Gaining that weight and training with that weight, it’s helpful.”
“I don’t want to have a repeat of Philly two years ago. I want to finish the whole stinking course. I’m still a little salty about season eight. But I’ve said all along, all these years, one obstacle at a time. One course at a time.”
Joe’s next obstacles will appear when he faces the Minneapolis City Finals course in a few weeks.