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Oswego Man Competing to Become Next 'American Ninja Warrior'

Jun 17, 2014 04:10PM ● Published by Steven Jack

Oswego's Dan Polizzi trains at a ninja-style obstacle course in Mazon, IL. Polizzi is originally from Naperville and is a graduate of Nequa Valley High School.

For Oswego's Dan Polizzi, competing on NBC's American Ninja Warrior is about more than grabbing a brief moment in the spotlight.
 
Polizzi, who is a firefighter/paramedic for the Aurora Fire Department, said training for one of the toughest physical challenges on television is more about personal motivation. He recently survived this season's first round cut in St. Louis in an episode that aired a couple of weeks ago. His next appearance on the show, which taped in April, will come out sometime in July.

"This is such a cool experience," said Polizzi, 32. "Training gives you a life goal and motivation to live a healthy lifestyle."

American Ninja Warrior is based on a hit Japanese show that pits competitors against a grueling obstacle course. Finalists from across the country compete on an even more intense course in Las Vegas for a prize of $500,000.

This is Polizzi's second straight year competing on the show. Last year, he narrowly missed the Las Vegas finals, bowing out in Baltimore. As for this year's outcome, Polizzi is barred from revealing how he fared. But ever since not making last year's final, Polizzi said he's been training harder than ever. 

Upper body strength and endurance are the keys to successful ninja warrior competition, and Polizzi said he works out five to six days a week. He also occasionally works out at ninja-style obstacle courses built in Lombard and Mazon, IL. Rock climbing is another way Polizzi prepares himself.

"That's something that has become a real hobby of mine lately," he said. "Climbing really builds hand and finger strength, which are also very important."

Polizzi said he started getting into the sport after seeing the Japanese show on American network G4. When it was adapted for American audiences, Polizzi started searching for ways to get on the show. He said it was difficult at first to even find a way to contact the show, but then he found a call for competitors on the G4 website. 

"I was so fascinated by the Japanese show," he said. "When I saw it was coming to America, I knew I had to try and get on."

American Ninja Warrior airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on NBC. To see more of Polizzi's warrior and training adventures, check out his Youtube channel. 

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