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Vance Walker steps up to Stage One and shares his cerebral palsy journey

Those incredible runs are anything but effortless for Vance.

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Elizabeth Morris/NBC

Is there a competitor having a better American Ninja Warrior season than Vance Walker? Every time he’s approached the course, he’s put together star-making runs. Things seem so simple for him. But in this first look at his introduction ahead of the National Finals, we learn that those incredible runs are anything but effortless for Vance.

In the season 13 Qualifiers, Vance cleared the course with the $10,000 Mega Wall, becoming the youngest ever to lock-in that accomplishment at just 16-years-old. In the Semifinals, Vance cleared the course with the top time and went on to snap up the Safety Pass on the Power Tower, another first for the teens. Oh, he also won his age bracket on both seasons of American Ninja Warrior Junior, just so you understand this resumé.

However, as we learned from the clip, this level of athleticism was not expected for Vance. When he was 18-months-old, he was diagnosed with Cerebral palsy and had to wear braces on his legs. When Vance started Ninja Warrior training, the skills did not come quickly or easily. It was constant work. And it is still constant work. Vance shared he still has to stretch his legs for hours and they still give out sometimes. In fact, he says that he was struggling on the Spider Trap during the Semifinals.

Wow. Just wow. As if we needed any more reasons to be impressed with this young athlete. His next step is to take on Stage One of the American Ninja Warrior National Finals. That kicks off tonight, Monday, August 30, at 8 pm/7c on NBC.

American Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior Junior are both produced by A.Smith and Co.