American Ninja Warrior fans were first introduced to Abel Gonzalez back in season six when he was a walk on contestant. He made it all the way to Stage Two of the National Finals. In season seven, he made it all the way to Stage Three.
An early exit during the Qualifiers of season eight kept him out of the National Finals just that once. Season nine sent him right back to Stage Two. With his Dallas City Finals run, Abel secured his fourth trip back to Las Vegas by making it to the ninth obstacle, Fall Out.
Through it all, Abel has remained dedicated to working with kids. He’s a motivational speaker who runs the AXIOS Warrior Academy in Edinburg, TX. He’s been open about his difficult childhood and he’s eager to inspire and help children whenever he can.
Abel gave is a little insight into his course strategy and mental preparation before his run.
“Usually balance or agility obstacles are a major concern. But I usually go back to my football skills. I was a running back. It was my job to have good footwork. That’s what I go back to to give me confidence on the course.”
“My students are always watching me. They want to know if I’m going to do good. I’ll yell out commands and techniques and try to teach them. So now it’s my time to show them how that stuff works. That’s the pressure. But it’s great to know that they’re here.”
“Ninja Warrior changed everything. It’s become a huge passion. My gym is a Ninja Warrior gym. It’s part of my career outside of the show. It’s been a great thing. For my family too. Most of my family will be here. That’s rare to have us all together. It’s a big thing. My family is known for being separated. Coming together to watch me do this. I didn’t know it was going to happen, now it’s turning out to be one of those things that really helps.”
“You can be very strong, very athletic, but if your mind isn’t set, if you’re not in it, if you’re not able to stay calm and understand the pressure and the lights and it’s your only shot, then you’re not going to do well.”
“Mental strength comes from going after obstacles. So when you look at an obstacle you feel confidence in your strength. I do a lot of reading and meditation to calm my body. To work on anxiety. It can be very high stakes. Breathing, mediation, remember that I train for this. I have a lot of people supporting me. I do this for my friends, my family, myself. Knowing that this is what I do. When I realize this is what I do, once I get started, I go at it.”
“I have very high expectations for myself. This is healthiest I’ve been since I went to Stage Three in 2015. I expect to hit buzzers.”