Topekan competes on NBC show American Ninja Warrior

Chris Okruhlik trains with new obstacles in his backyard as he prepares for the American Ninja Warrior competition.

It’s known as the most difficult obstacle course in the world. But Topekan Chris Okruhlik doesn’t seem to mind the challenge.

Chris is a four-time contestant on the NBC show – American Ninja Warrior. He was shown on the national broadcast last July and is ready to give it another shot.

“It’s an amazing feat to be accepted in with a bunch of elite athletes,” Okruhlik said. “I’m competing with rock climbers, Olympians, professional athletes, MMA fighters, basketball players. I competed with one of the Harlem Globetrotters so that in itself is really cool right there.”

This year, Chris is a bit leaner and stronger. Plus, he’s as experienced as they come.

“I’ve taken a different approach to my training altogether,” Okruhlik said. “I’ve started building more and more obstacles in my backyard. I’m trying to make myself a more well-rounded ninja should I say.”

Chris sent in an application video for the show and made the cut over more than thousands of submissions. He qualified for one of the five city competitions and then they send the top-15 finishers to the national finals in Las Vegas.

Chris is not allowed to tell us about his agreement with American Ninja such as how he finished or what he experienced during the competition. However, he gave us a couple of demonstrations on what you could expect on the course.

“Perhaps like the warped wall,” Okruhlik said. “Once you get to the end of the course, if you make it. You have three attempts to get up the warped wall. That is the only obstacle in Ninja Warrior that gives you multiple attempts to get to it.”

If there’s a motivating factor for Chris, it’s competing for his dog who passed away.

“I lost my boxer on New Year’s Eve,” Okruhlik said. “His name is Apollo. I decided to dedicate my run this year to him. It’s got a lot more personal feeling to me.”

The former U.S. Marine hopes to make Topeka proud and taking home the top prize of half-a-million dollars wouldn’t hurt either.

Okruhlik made the NBC broadcast of American Ninja Warrior on Monday night. He completed the first two obstacles but fell off the rotating log to end his run.

Okruhlik plans on making his fifth appearance in the competition next year.


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