A show premiering tonight on NBC26 will showcase some of the amazing physical skills of America's Next Ninja Warrior. The show puts contestants in an obstacle course that is nearly impossible to complete, but as NBC26 explains some of its athletes have already endured some of life's most testing challenges.
Over 80 thousand people applied to be on American Ninja Warrior but ultimately only 500 people make the cut. One of those gifted athletes is Drew Knapp of Suamico and he’s been preparing for this moment for the better part of 11 years.
To make it on American Ninja Warrior you have to have balance, strong hands and a solid core. But it doesn’t hurt of course to have an adult sized jungle gym of sorts in your front yard.
"That's our outdoor ninja course," says 21-year-old Drew Knapp as he points to an oversized obstacle course he built with his family and friends to train for the competition.
Watching the show growing up with his brothers Drew always knew the dream, was possible.
"So we would set up courses in our house and we had this big play set in our backyard and we turned it into a ninja course basically," says Knapp.
But what gave him the strength to continue pushing the limits of what his body could do was what his younger brother was forced to overcome when he was younger. He was diagnosed with cancer and it was a fight the whole family would endure.
"My brother, back when I was in 6th grade, he was diagnosed with leukemia," says Knapp.
"That event changed all of us and I know it's been a driving force within this family," says Drew’s dad Craig Knapp.
When Drew makes it onto prime time television in a couple weeks you'll see him in the same attire, with the same reminder on the back of his shirt. It reads “Can’t Stop Knapp,” the same message a shirt made years ago stated about his brother’s battle.
"We've experienced these hardships together," adds Knapp.
A reminder that any obstacle should be faced head on.
"He's been in remission for about 8 years now," adds Knapp.
And while Drew doesn't need a shirt to show his family's strength, he hopes it can inspire more warriors.
The season premiere of American Ninja Warrior is tonight at 7pm right here on NBC. Drew's episode will air on June 13th and if he does well enough we can expect to see him again about a month after that.