Stage one of the American Ninja Warrior finals kicked off Monday, with fan-favorite ninja Vance Walker looking to move on. The 16-year-old was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 18-months-old, and his family wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to walk without the presence of leg braces.
Walker says that the movement disorder, which affects roughly one in every 350 kids with no cure available, still requires hours of stretching every day to keep his legs from cramping, and it still hinders him on some obstacles.
So when Walker reached the Jumping Spider obstacle during his run on Monday, one that saw plenty of failure throughout the night, all eyes were on the five-foot five-inch high schooler.
But not only did he get through the Jumping Spider with relative ease, the Texas native who now lives in Georgia made it all the way to the end of the course.
And if you pair his success from Monday and earlier in the season with the fact that he won American Ninja Warrior Junior in two consecutive years, Walker has officially never fallen on a Ninja Warrior obstacle. A streak that he will take into Stage two of the finals.
Viewers on Twitter loved Walker’s performance, calling him things like “next level,” “terrific” and “someone to watch.”
And with a safety pass still in his possession for Stage two, which is basically a get out of the water free card in case he finally fails on an obstacle, the future is looking bright for the young competitor.
“We may be looking at our next Ninja Warrior, and he’s just 16-years-old,” Host Matt Iseman said after Walker’s run. “This kid is good.”
Watch what happened when a Ninja Warrior contestant split his head open mid-run: