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Tyler Gillett: ‘My expectations are always high. I’m always really hard on myself.’

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After 7 years of work, he’s living out his Ninja dreams.

Tyler Gillett roared on to the American Ninja Warrior scene in season nine. He was just 21 at the time, and an avid Ninja Warrior fan. He’d been training for seven years when it was his chance to shine and he didn’t let the opportunity slip through his fingers. He made it all the way to Stage Two of the National Finals.

He’s starting off season 10 with no signs of a sophomore slump. Tyler completed the Minneapolis Qualifying course. In the City Finals, he slipped off the incredibly difficult Iron Maiden, but still advanced to the National Finals.

Before Tyler stepped up to the City Finals course, he talked to us about how this year of Ninja-fame has been for him, including his thoughts on the lower age-limit after he had to wait seven years.

“Things have been crazy since last year. Tons of kids have come up to me and told me how much I inspire them to pursue and follow their dreams. I’ve been waiting to be on the show for so long. Last year being my rookie year, waiting seven years, training, it’s been an awesome experience. It’s definitely changed my life. The people that I’ve met doing the show have become my best friends. It’s become an awesome community and it’s definitely been a huge blessing in my life.”

“There’s some pressure to do at least as good as I did last year, but I don’t try to think about that much. For me, I’m going to do what I can do. I’m going to do my best. Go out there and try my best. Whatever happens, happens. I’m just going to have fun with it and not let any sort of pressure get to me.”

“American Ninja Warrior has consumed my life in every way. I’ve been training more, but even when I’m not training, it’s really inspired me to overcome any obstacle. Really reach for whatever dream or goal it may be. I’ve proved that I can put forth the effort, get on the show, and prove what I’m capable of in this aspect. So it’s really transformed into other aspects of my life.”

“I have a good time out there, but a lot of people underestimate how mental it is. You have to really imagine yourself going through the course. You can’t underestimate any obstacle, but you also can’t go in too confident. Just focus one obstacle at a time.”

“I think it’s amazing that they lowered the age limit to 19. I actually made a petition when I was about 16 to lower it to 18 or so. There’s no hard feelings that the year after I waited seven years they changed it, because in my eyes it’s not preventing me from being on the show. It’s just allowing these younger people who’ve been wanting to do it just as much as I wanted to do it, get their chance. I think it’s awesome.”

“My expectations are always high. I’m always really hard on myself. But at the same time, like I said, I just try to have fun with it. My expectation is to go out there, do my best, have fun, and I’m just really, really hoping that’s going to get me through to Vegas. And hopefully through the whole thing. Try to set my eyes on the prize, going all the way. If you set your eyes on anything less, I think you’re doubting yourself. Go in confident, but not underestimating.”

The next step for Tyler is to take on Stage One of the National Finals, which begin on August 27!