These ninjas really stepped up to the plate and brought something special to their runs. pic.twitter.com/7HMsr69QrM— Ninja Warrior (@ninjawarrior) May 30, 2019
While all of American Ninja Warrior’s competitors are something special, two of the course finishers at the Los Angeles Qualifiers really stopped us in our tracks. David Alvarez and Brian Burk shared incredibly emotional stories, and then had us clapping and cheering as they hit the buzzer.
You can catch snippets of their runs in the video above.
The first-time competitor stepped on to the course with an important mission in mind: Find his sister. He was separated from his little sister Wallyssa in the foster care system when he was just 13 and she was two-years-old. David hoped his exposure on the show would lead to information on his sister’s whereabouts, and asked that people reach out to him on his Instagram.
When David hit the buzzer, he broke down in tears, revealing he was carrying his sister’s pacifier. And yes, we broke down with him.
These are tears of joy and accomplishment. pic.twitter.com/sCh1e5xifI— Ninja Warrior (@ninjawarrior) May 30, 2019
“I love challenges, but other than that, this is all for my baby sister. It’s all dedicated to her,” David told us.
Reflecting back on his run, David shared that he was focused and calm. “It was good. It was really good. I had no fear at all. It was fun. I was definitely happy and proud. It was good hitting that buzzer for sure.”
“To be honest, I already accomplished that,” He said, when asked about his expectations for the season. “It was just to be here and get the opportunity. To do my best. I feel like I gave that.”
Brian was another rookie who had us all on our feet. Though his autism can affect his learning abilities, he’s an Aerospace Engineering student and a bonafide Ninja Warrior. Brian celebrated each and every obstacle he completed with an infectious display of delight. By the time he reached the Warped Wall, everyone was smiling along with him. He hit the buzzer, did the splits, and proved nothing will ever stand in his way.
This run isn’t only emotional, it’s inspirational. pic.twitter.com/4YMCY8X0aQ— Ninja Warrior (@ninjawarrior) May 30, 2019
Before his run, Brian shared that he was just thrilled to be there (and we saw that excitement on the course!). “I’m just really excited to compete on the actual course,” He said. “I’ve been training for two and a half years. It means a lot considering the Ninja community and my parents get to watch me on the sidelines. It means everything to me.”
While Brian did reveal he was feeling some jitters before his run, they obviously didn’t take away from his skills on the obstacles. “I’m maybe a little bit (nervous) because this is my first time competing. I’m not really too sure what to expect. I’m just going to think about the fact that everyone is going to be watching you and that you only get to do it once. You only get one shot.
Whatever happens, I’m just going to be thankful that I got to compete out here. My goal is to complete the course. Qualifying, reach the City Finals, and hopefully Las Vegas!”
Brian can check one goal off right away! Both he and David have advanced to the City Finals course and we can’t wait to see more of them.