It’s pretty good to be Joe Moravsky right now. He’s dominating season 12 of American Ninja Warrior.
In the Qualifiers, Joe wanted to have a top time so that he could make it to the Power Tower and revive his team members, but he also wanted a shot at the Mega Wall he’d missed in the two previous seasons. For most competitors, you’d need to choose one of those two goals. Joe did it all. He placed second overall, beat the Mega Wall, and won the Power Tower race against Michael Torres.
In the Semi-Finals, Joe put together a run that, frankly, there’s not too much to say about. Because it was flawless. Joe perfectly executed his plans and earned the fastest finish of the night.
After the Qualifiers, we brought you part one of our interview with him. Read on for the rest of our conversation. Joe reflects on the Semi-Finals and lays out exactly what he has in mind for the Finals.
Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
You brought your team back to life, as was your goal. And in semi-finals you put together another pretty perfect run. What does it feel like to do that back to back?
JM: It feels good. I always know that I’m capable of it. I just never really have a reason to go that fast. When it comes to Vegas, we usually run reverse order. So, first place runs last and things like that. I never really cared for going for first place. For me, top five is where I want to sit, top 10, depending on how many people move on, that’s fine for me. I don’t like waiting to the end because waiting to the end just gets you tired. But the major advantage is, you know exactly what you have to do. And so I changed up my mindset. After going so fast in Qualifying, I realized that, “You know what, maybe it’s better to just be the old you. Let’s just do it again.”
And why not? We’re in St. Louis. Last time I was in St. Louis was season six, I had the fastest time in Qualifiers. I was the fastest time in Finals. And then I ended up being the Last Ninja Standing that year. So it’s coming full circle here in St. Louis, once again. And here I am with a Power Tower victory, a Mega Wall, and then first place Semi-Final, we’re calling it. It feels like it’s coming full circle. Maybe it’s meant to be, maybe St. Louis is my lucky city.
How did it feel when Akbar called you the Dad Bod Ninja? And because I don’t feel that was a proper assessment.
JM: Dad bod... Listen, if anyone’s the Dad Bod Ninja, it’s Akbar. (Laughs)
Yeah. I don’t think I’ll ever actually be known as the Dad Bod Ninja, because there are seven years of The Weatherman under my belt. It’d be a very difficult thing to change me to the Dad Bod Ninja. I’m okay with people saying The Weatherman Dad Bod Ninja. I’m okay with that. You can throw that in there. It doesn’t bother me. It actually fires me up to show you who I really am. You want to call me the Dad Bod Ninja, bad move, because I’m about to show you why you shouldn’t have done that.
That’s okay. It was all fun and games and I’m sure he wasn’t too serious.
You still have the grueling Finals ahead of you tomorrow. It sounds like you want to go all the way to the end. How are you feeling about that? There’s a lot still laying ahead of you right now.
JM: I have a big advantage and here’s why. Being in this for so long, I know that this day of filming is going to be very long. I’m talking, this is probably going to be 12 to 16 hour day tomorrow. I don’t think a lot of Ninjas, even the veterans are thinking about that, right now. I think they’re just so hyped up or nervous, whatever it is. I’m focused at the end, I’m focused at the final race this year. I’m not saying that I’m going to make it through without a doubt because things go wrong. But I think if I just keep doing what I do, I should be able to get to this Power Tower and be top eight. I’ve already done first and second place, pretty much both my runs here, so what’s different? There’s really nothing different.
So, my goal is to just outlast these other Ninjas I feel mentally, I need to be prepared. Physically, I know my body will step it up. But it’s really, everyone’s minds are going to be so tired, such a long day. And then having to race back to back, with the first place seed going against the eighth place seed. And then you finish, and you go from high to relaxed again, and you got to get high again and then you got to relax again. It just really wears on your body. And on your mind, your mind just gets very fatigued. And that’s where mistakes happen. And so that’s where I’m preparing to be victorious. That’s where I want to beat everybody, is the mental game. So when people start to let their guard down, when people start to get tired and fatigued, that’s where I’m going to step it up and say, “Listen, I’ve been ready for this. I’ve been waiting for this. You let your guard down and that’s why you’re going to lose.”
Overall, what’s your motivation this season? What’s driving you?
JM: My motivation changes every day, but I feel my motivation right now is, I have been so close to winning so many years, that it’s just not fair anymore, to just let me be second place or third place. It’s time, it’s time. That’s my motivation. It’s time I just get it done and just get that out of the way, so I don’t have to worry about it anymore. My motivation is to finally break this second, third, fourth, fifth place curse and take one home with a W, to take one home and win.
Honestly, I really don’t care who it is (on the Power Tower). My goal is to just outlast these people mentally and just be consistent on every single run, have a game plan for every single run, have a plan for every single movement. When I beat Michael Torres, I had a plan for every single movement, except climbing up the poles. And look what happened, I screwed up climbing up the polls. But everything else was perfect, I don’t think I would’ve done anything differently. So as long as I come up with that game plan and I stick to the game plan, it’s going to be really hard to beat me.
Think Joe has what it takes to take home the title this season? We only have a few more episodes to watch to find out! The American Ninja Warrior Finals kick off Wednesday, October 28 at 9pm EST/PST on NBC.