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Flip Rodriguez on the upcoming Semifinals: ‘I’m either going to Vegas with the Safety Pass or not at all.’

With a wave of positivity behind him, he wants the top time in Semifinals.

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Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Flip Rodriguez is a beloved American Ninja Warrior veteran. Over his years on the show, he’s matured and changed right in front of the audience’s eyes. He’s become more open, more vulnerable, and as a result, more inspiring to others as he continued to find success on the course.

Back for season 13, Flip started things off with a strong run to the fifth obstacle, Sideways. We had the chance to speak with him before and after his run to learn about how his online family has changed things for him, his approach to the season, and what’s next for him in the Semifinals.

On what’s new for him this season

“I created an online community on Twitch called the Flip Fam. They’ve actually been a really big part of my training. I go live on there and they’re always motivating me to do one more extra rep. Push a little harder. Don’t quit. Keep going. You’ve got this. They’re really becoming a part of the process of what I’m hoping is going to be success this season.

I’m ready for this competition this year because I have a new support system, which is the Flip Fam. I moved to South Florida. I have my family. I see them on a consistent basis. I have a girlfriend that I see on a consistent basis. It’s a new chapter in my life. 2020 was very rough for me personally. There were a lot of events that really, really hurt a lot. I’m done with it. I’m done with 2020. I’m ready to create a place now where I can share positivity and really bring people together.”

On his Qualifying run

“Before my run, I was focusing on technique. It was a very technical course. I think efficiency was the best approach. Not too much rest time in between. I tried to be as technical as possible on obstacle five (Sideways) and it didn’t work out for me.

My favorite moment on the course was looking at the virtual sideline and seeing one of the Flip Fam on there. I’ve never seen them in person! They can see me but I can’t see them. I know based on conversations who they are, what’s going on in their lives. But it was interesting to see someone from the Flip Fam community on the sidelines.”

Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Heading into the night of the Semifinals

“I’m feeling pretty good tonight. I’m number 13. That’s probably one of the earliest I’ve ever run. But I’m excited to be number 13. I think we’re in a field of extremely strong competitors. Being at the end might be more of a disadvantage, to be honest with you. We have a stacked house. Before the first wave ends, I expect at least 10 finishers. If you’re in the back half, it’s a little bit of pressure.

His goals for the extended course

“My goal is the Power Tower. I’m contemplating a lot on Split Decision. It will really be based on if I get to (obstacle) nine with enough time to be in first place. If I look at the clock and I’m ahead of first place by a minute or so, I will chance my odds and do balance because, balance to upper body, timewise alone, you’re talking about saving 30-45 seconds. That’s a huge deal. I understand this balance is very tricky. But, high risk for high reward. But like the last Power Tower I did, I said I’m either going to Vegas with the Safety Pass or not at all.”

We’ll get to see Flip’s quest for the Power Tower when American Ninja Warrior moves into the Semifinals.