Now that the season 13 finale of American Ninja Warrior has aired, we need to spend a little time answering a question we’ve gotten a lot. What happened to Joe Moravsky at the National Finals?
Well, the answer is: A lot.
We don’t mean this in the sense of disparaging Joe’s skills. This isn’t, “What the heck, Joe?” This is more, “We surprised and we need to talk this through.”
Joe came into the National Finals with a swell of success behind him. In the Qualifiers, he nailed the Mega Wall. In the Semifinals, he scored the second-fastest time of the night and earned a Safety Pass on the Power Tower. Joe told us he was really feeling like this was his year. After five trips to Stage Three and two turns as the Last Ninja Standing, there was a feeling that it was his time to earn a title.
But things went awry from the get-go at the National Finals. On Stage One, Joe seemed off on the course and fell while attempting to reach The High Road. He was frustrated by the need to use his Safety Pass but turned in a fantastic finish after that. We also learned he was struggling with food poisoning at the time.
- Stage One - First attempt
- Stage One - Second attempt (preview)
Joe has reached Stage Two of the National Finals six times previously and failed it only once. The feeling that Joe was back on track was prevalent.
And then... His Stage Two run was over. Joe fell on the first obstacle, the Striding Steps. As he ran towards the rope, he started to lean to one side, which left him out of place for a clean rope grab. And he was in the water.
Everyone was gobsmacked by the outcome. Silence fell on set when it happened. The viewers gasped when it was shown in the episode. We all know these things are very possible. We know that it’s also not a reflection of a competitor’s potential.
Luckily, Joe understands this as well. After the episode aired, he posted a video on Instagram going over the difficult feelings he’s sorted through and how he WILL come back stronger.
Season 14, watch out. The Weatherman is hungry.