Caiden Madzelan earns 'American Ninja Warrior' finals berth
While on vacation in Poland, Caiden Madzelan will be competing in the "American Ninja Warrior" finals at Las Vegas.
Yep, in the alternate reality of tape-delayed television, Madzelan's appearances in the "ANW" finals, broadcast on KGW (8) TV Aug. 15 and/or 22, comes at the same time he and his family will be visiting family in Europe.
Don't worry, he'll be in touch via social media — @Troutdale_Ninja on Instagram.
The big news is Madzelan made the finals for the second consecutive year. The Troutdale teenager, a senior-to-be at Reynold High School, finished fifth at the Los Angeles city finals, which were shown Monday, July 25 on KGW.
Only one participant actually finished the course, fellow teenager Evan Andrews. Based on how fast he raced on the Vegas obstacle course and how far he went, Madzelan finished fifth — a very good placing, considering there were 30 athletes that competed and 15 that advanced.
He's happy to make it to Vegas. He wasn't too disappointed with his performance in L.A., considering the difficulty of the course.
"I made it to the eighth obstacle and fell on the final lache (or swing)," said Madzelan, who's 17 but competed as a 16-year-old on "ANW" this year. "There were boxes that dropped (to swing to) and they were harder as they went along. On the final box, I was six inches away and my hand overshot it."
The course, he added, "was definitely harder than the producers anticipated." Many top ninjas didn't finish; Madzelan went third among competitors and then had to nervously await the final results. (Because of child working labor laws, he added, the teenagers had to go early in the day in L.A.).
"I safely made the finals, but it was very scary," Madzelan said.
"I was not too sure I was going to make it. At 4 a.m., they came to my (hotel) door and said 'You made finals and here's your prize money,'" $750.
"My mom had gone to sleep. But, I was up till 4 a.m."
The L.A. city finals were filmed in April, and the Vegas finals in May. But, in TV world, the stage one of the Vegas finals will be on KGW on Aug. 15 and 22. Madzelan doesn't know if he'll get air time.
"After Vegas last year I told myself to strive to be the better version of myself every single day," he said. "Athletically I have done it, as I was top five in qualifying and semifinals."
Now, it's off to Poland for vacation, Aug. 4-23.
But, he'll "let everyone know" about his Vegas performance via Instagram.
Madzelan wanted to thank his mother (Lisa Madzelan), father (Matt Luce) and personal trainer Ryland Lanagan for their support.
"There were days with bad competitions, and I'd come home and be sad and not knowing my spot in the sport," he said. "They were always lifting me up. With ninja you make one mistake and you're done, so you have some bad competitions.
"They believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. My success is as much theirs as mine. I wouldn't be where I am without them."
Here's the story on Caiden Madzelan that we wrote after qualifying:
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