One of the most touching stories from the second night of the American Ninja Warrior Qualifiers belongs to Julius Ferguson and his good friend Dan Champagne.
Before Julius ran the course, making it to the fifth obstacle and the Semifinals, he discussed his experience with homelessness. After living under a bridge in Connecticut for several months, he shared his situation with his good friend and training partner, Dan. In a heartbeat, Dan took him in and helped Julius find a better housing situation. They’ve worked together to renovate a van for Julius to live in.
But that story shouldn’t overshadow the amount of work Julius has put into his Ninja Warrior career. Even when things were incredibly tough for him, his drive remained on training. In recent years of the show, we’ve had more and more opportunities to see what he’s capable of, including his Qualifying buzzer in season 12.
“I’ve been competing on ANW since season eight, except for season nine. So, eight, 10, 11, 12, and now 13. And I’ve been competing in the National Ninja League since season one and I also competed in the UNX League last year,” Julius told us.
Behind the scenes of season 12, that success in the Qualifiers was followed by a shocking end to his year on the show that the audience never saw. In the days following that run, Julius tested positive for COVID-19 and wasn’t able to move on in the competition.
“And after COVID I was unemployed from last March until this January,” Julius shared. “So, I wasn’t able to train for the rest of the year after ANW, wasn’t able to train again until January of this year when I moved to North Carolina and started working at Rock Solid Warrior. Basically, I still have the same motivation and the same drive and probably more fire now just because of life.”
Losing out on his Ninja Warrior opportunity last year stuck with Julius.
“I was definitely really crestfallen downcast after. It didn’t really register that it could happen like that after literally training nonstop for the entire year since the season before. The season before, my chances were cut short because I got injured just before Vegas. It was even more of a letdown. I was definitely really depressed after.
It was extremely disappointing but I never gave up on coming back because I know I did everything that I could and it wasn’t a failure on my part.”
Coming back to Ninja Warrior for season 13, after all the obstacles he’s already faced, Julius has tunnel vision in the best way. He’s here to focus on his runs and his runs alone. When we asked him if there’s any message he’d like to share with the audience this season, he told us that his message will be what he does on the course.
“I don’t think I have one honestly because I’m just focusing on my run. That’s it. I hope my success can give a message that, if anything, that it’s just me overcoming and grasping for success. But my only focus is the next step.
I’ve been preparing in every facet of competition, physical and mental, every element I made sure that I covered. So, I don’t see any reason as far as anything I can control that I wouldn’t be successful.”
Julius has a mission this season of American Ninja Warrior. His mission continues as he progresses into the Semifinals.