It takes a Ninja to stump a Ninja! Competitor Josh Norton is the winner of the season 11 Obstacle Design Challenge.
The first night of the American Ninja Warrior Semi-Finals revealed that last year’s Obstacle Design Challenge winner is Josh Norton! He came up with the idea that we saw as Corkscrew. It proved to be a devastating obstacle on the Semi-Finals course, twisting competitors like Kevin Bull, Grant McCartney, and Kid Owhadi into the water (but it looked fantastic while it happened).
The original design that Josh submitted was called the Pogo Wheels. It looks like the team at American Ninja Warrior made a few small tweaks, but other than that, it’s a pretty spot on replication!
Josh is a janitor at Iron Sports in Houston, TX. He trains with the likes of Sam Sann and Daniel Gil. Josh has competed on four seasons of American Ninja Warrior, counting season 12 where he exited the competition in the Qualifying round.
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Tonight it all goes down!!! Catch me and my team on tonight's episode of @ninjawarrior at 8/7 central on @nbc ! I trained harder than ever to get ready for this season and you better believe I plan to #CleanThatCourse !! This year I was lucky enough to be on a amazing BEAST of a team! As our captain we had @kingdom_ninja who is already a legend in the sport, being one of only 4 ninjas to EVER make it to stage 4 on #AmericanNinjaWarrior ! In addition to being one of the strongest people I've ever known, he's also one of the most humble! My other teammate is @themotivatedninja ! This is Gabes first season competing but don't let that fool you. He's been training for this moment for years and is incredibly strong, skilled and motivated to be the best! Both of these guys are really good friends of mine and I seriously couldn't have asked for a better team!
We reached out to Josh to ask about how he came up with an obstacle that we simultaneously adore and hate.
“The original inspiration for Pogo Wheels/ Corkscrew actually came from seeing a Submarine hatch. I liked the way the wheel on a submarine hatch spins to open and thought it would make a neat obstacle. After that I tried to think what I could do to spice it up and that’s when I had the idea to have it both drop and spin when you catch it and bounce back up when you release it, similar to a pogo stick. Of course the final product of the obstacle built for the course doesn’t bounce back up, rather it drops and spirals down quite fast before coming to a jolting stop. Personally I love the changes and think it makes for a very exciting obstacle!”
So did Josh subject himself to this torture before putting it in front of his fellow Ninjas?
“I have not built the obstacle... yet. Haha. I didn’t want to build one before the show in case my design was used. I figured that would be an unfair advantage for anyone that could try it. Plus there’s something exciting about trying a new obstacle in competition unlike anything you’ve ever done.
I’ve trained obstacles that spun and obstacles that drop but personally I’ve never trained anything that does both at the same time. Because I’d never seen it done before I figured it would make for a great new obstacle.”
Josh’s idea went from a drawing on paper, to a metallic beast that sent nine Ninjas twirling like falling leaves into the pool below on the first night of Semi-Finals. Talk about the power of an idea!
“It was honestly a dream come true to see my obstacle on the Semi-Finals course! I really would have loved to try the obstacle myself. Unfortunately my season ended much earlier than I had planned. Seeing my friends and everyone take on the Pogo Wheels / Corkscrew was absolutely amazing though! This whole experience has been very humbling. I honestly can’t thank American Ninja Warrior enough for bringing my design to life!”
Josh Norton’s Corkscrew is the winner of the season 11 Obstacle Design Challenge. But there’s still time to submit your idea for season 12! This year’s submission period closes on November 23. Get your idea in today for a chance to see it on a course in season 13.