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Longtime Ninja Mike Bernardo reminisces about a decade of Ninja Warrior

The caution tape and the back slaps are a staple of American Ninja Warrior.

Dennis Mong

A couple of weeks ago, we covered the 10-year challenge that was sweeping across Instagram. We loved seeing the difference that 10 years makes. For some, life 10 years ago is basically unrecognizable – Ninja Warrior wasn’t even close to being on their radar back then. For others, Ninja Warrior was their passion and they’ve stuck with it for an entire decade. Mike Bernardo is one of those Ninjas. He started competing on season 2, and except for season 3, he has been competing ever since.

Shortly after we covered the #10yearchallenge, Mike upped the ante with a 10 +10 +10 challenge, showcasing a 30-year span of photos. As a veteran in the sport, Mike has the years to do this. However, many Ninjas from season 11 can’t complete this challenge yet, and won’t be able to for quite a few years!

Actually, Mike seems to be in a reminiscing kind of mood. In celebration of his recent 39th birthday, he posted photos representative of every year from 2009 to 2019. Not surprisingly, every photo involved Ninja.

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A post shared by Mike Bernardo, DCFD, ANW (@911fallrisk) on

Mike has had quite a successful journey on American Ninja Warrior. He has made it to the National Finals in Vegas four times. He has also earned quite the reputation for himself on the Salmon Ladder, getting the nickname “Machine Gun Mike”.

After an injury at work and all of the medical testing that followed, the D.C. firefighter had a very trying year. His ability to compete on season 11 was in question, but after leaning on his own strength — and the strength of the collective Ninja community — Mike came through with a buzzer in the Cincinnati Qualifiers.

We’re hoping to see the ever-present caution tape and back slap (and Mike Bernardo, of course!) on season 12.