The only athlete to ever beat the brutally difficult American Ninja Warrior course and win the show’s top prize is ready to try again.
Isaac Caldiero — who made NBC history by conquering Mt. Midoriyama in 2015 — is returning to the hit competition series after a three-year break from the action.
“Everyone thinks I disappeared but I haven’t,” the 36-year-old Caldiero tells EW exclusively. “I’ve been watching and waiting — seeing who’s strong, who are the big competitors.”
Caldiero completed the final Stage 4 in season 7 along with another contestant, Geoff Britten, but Caldiero was the sole winner because he had the faster time. After winning the show’s $1 million prize, Caldiero has been living in Chattanooga with his “soul mate” and fellow Ninja Warrior competitor Laura Kisana and his black labrador, Sage.
“I’ve been watching to see if anyone can grab the ring and follow my footsteps and nobody has,” Caldiero says. “So I decided, okay, I’ll come back and let everyone know I’m here.”
Asked if he thinks the obstacles have gotten harder since his victory, Caldiero agrees they have, but still thinks he’s got a shot. “Yes, they have changed, but they aren’t that much harder,” he says. “They are just different obstacles but they have a lot of room to grow, especially considering how much the ninja athletes are training. I’m looking forward to hitting some buzzers and having a good time.”
Caldiero will run in the show’s Indianapolis qualifying round on April 29. That run will be taped for air during the season (and if he qualifies, which is a good bet, he’ll run in the regional finals round which tapes the next night).
American Ninja Warrior season 10 premieres May 30 at 8 p.m. on NBC.