Season 13 of American Ninja Warrior has been packed with surprises already, but one of the most delightful surprises of the Qualifiers came in the form of Brett Hernandez Strong’s meteoric rise to success.
Brett stepped up to the course on the third night of the Qualifiers as a 19-year-old unknown. He left as a course finisher, in eighth place on the leaderboard, and $10,000 richer from the Mega Wall. Matt Iseman echoed all our feelings as he shouted, “Where did this guy come from?” as Brett barrelled down the course.
While it might have seemed sudden to us, Brett’s success has been years in the making as a longtime Ninja Warrior fan.
“Ten years ago, I fell in love with American Ninja Warrior back in its second season,” Brett told us prior to his debut. “It’s all thanks to my grandparents back home. Unfortunately, she (his grandmother) passed away two days before my birthday in 2018. She showed me Ninja Warrior one afternoon when I was at her house for lunch. She was saying, ‘Hey, there’s a show like Wipeout that you’re really going to like.’
I remember watching ANW legends at the time like Paul Kasemir. I was like, ‘Wow. I want to go out there and do that.’ I was nine years old at the time.”
Brett went from idolizing the Ninjas on the course to becoming one through his unwavering ambition. He was going to be a Ninja Warrior, no matter how long it took or what stood in his way.
“My motivation comes from thinking about what I said back in 2010. Wanting to really achieve that goal as soon as possible. I applied last year. Unfortunately, COVID switched things around. I applied again this year and I’m very thankful the team chose me. I’m really thankful to be here.”
While we, the viewers, only recently saw Brett on the course for the first time, he’s pictured it more times than he can count. Ninja Warrior has literally been his dream.
“I’ve dreamed about the moment over and over again. I know it sounds like a cliché thing to say. I’ve actually had dreams where I’ve been on the course. And I’m doing well!
As far as the preparation, I’ve been training on Ninja obstacles since 2017. I’ve been training on playgrounds and public parks. Whatever you can climb on, since 2015. That’s where my training truly started. A public park and playground near my high school. I’d tear up my hands trying to emulate the obstacles you’d see on American Ninja Warrior.”
Now that Brett has officially announced his presence in the Ninja Warrior world, we can’t wait to see what he does next in the Semifinals.