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This teenager (almost) completed the near-impossible on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

If there’s anything ‘American Ninja Warrior’ has proved over the years, it’s that winning the show is no easy feat

15-year-old Kaden Lebsack on “American Ninja Warrior.”
On Monday night, 15-year-old Kaden Lebsack became the youngest person in “American Ninja Warrior” history to reach Stage 4 of the National Finals.
Elizabeth Morris, NBC

If there’s anything “American Ninja Warrior” has proved over the years, it’s that winning the show is no easy feat.

To achieve total victory and claim the $1 million prize, one must successfully navigate the entire four-stage obstacle course of the National Finals — a course that gets substantially harder with each stage.

Oh, and three of those physically demanding stages have to be completed with a certain time limit.

Let’s put that difficulty into perspective: In 12 seasons, the show has only reached the fourth and final stage twice. Only two people have walked away as an official “American Ninja Warrior” champion.

On Monday night, “American Ninja Warrior” reached the final stage — a 75-foot rope climb that must be completed within 30 seconds — for the third time in the show’s history.

Making the already rare moment even more exciting was the fact that the competitor was just 15 years old — the youngest to ever make it that far in the competition (until this season, the age requirement to compete on “American Ninja Warrior” was 19).


Kaden Lebsack makes history on ‘American Ninja Warrior’

Out of a season that began with 400 competitors, Kaden Lesback became the only person to reach Stage 4 of the National Finals.

He ended up timing out on the rope climb, and was visibly disappointed. But he still walked away with $100,000 for being the “Last Ninja Standing.”

Kaden’s historic moment on the show was a reminder that winning the show isn’t entirely impossible. And considering his age, Kaden will likely be back for many seasons to come, inching his way up that rope and closer to the $1 million prize.

Brian Beckstrand, the father of Kai Beckstrand — another teenager who competed this season — previously told the Deseret News that he finds the show’s format more motivating than discouraging.

“Obviously they don’t want winners every time, because that would water it down and people would look at it and say, ‘Well that’s easy. Someone beats it every year,’” he said from his home in St. George, Utah. “This is motivation — it leaves it for anybody to complete. If even the seasoned veterans that are there every year haven’t done it, then it just leaves room for improvement every time.”


Where did Utah teen Kai Beckstrand end up?

Fifteen-year-old Kai Beckstrand, who had the fastest time of all the competitors during the show’s qualifying round this season, ended up being eliminated during Stage 2 of the National Finals Monday night.

Kai was one of only 27 competitors who made it to Stage 2, which had to be completed within 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

But the teenager’s time on “American Ninja Warrior” is likely far from over. His family has an extensive history with the show — both of his parents and two of his siblings have competed on “American Ninja Warrior” and “American Ninja Warrior Jr.,” and Kai continues to train daily at his family’s gym in St. George, the Deseret News reported.