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ME Student Competes on American Ninja Warrior

June 1, 2016

Mechanical Engineering student Joshua Levin, E'17, has been competing in climbing competitions for most of his life and was featured on American Ninja Warrior in Los Angeles where he finished in 4:35:21. Next he will be competing in the City finals for a chance to take part in the Las Vegas finals for the $1M prize.


Source: News @ Northeastern

Josh Levin says com­peting on Amer­ican Ninja War­rior is much harder than it looks on TV. He would know—the rising North­eastern Uni­ver­sity senior and highly accom­plished rock climber has done just that.

On the NBC show, con­tes­tants nav­i­gate chal­lenging four-​​stage obstacle courses in cities across the country. After com­peting in city qual­i­fiers and then city finals, the remaining con­tes­tants move on to the finals in Las Vegas. Season 8 pre­mieres Wednesday night at 8 p.m. and fea­tures the Los Angeles qualifier—which was taped in April and where Levin com­peted with about 100 other contestants.

Levin’s per­for­mance in the qual­i­fier can’t be revealed until the episode airs. He’s hosting a viewing party Wednesday night for family and friends back home in Cal­i­fornia, where he’s also cur­rently working on co-​​op at Apple.

It is a competition…but at least for me it’s never about beating someone else. It’s that we want to rise together in the com­mu­nity to defeat these obsta­cles. As a model for a com­pe­ti­tion, that’s really unique and really cool.
— Josh Levin, E’17, on how he views com­peting on Amer­ican Ninja Warrior

Josh Levin, E'17, competes on American Ninja Warrior. Photo by: Brandon Hickman/NBC

Josh Levin, E’17, com­petes on Amer­ican Ninja War­rior. Photo by: Brandon Hickman/​NBC

How he got there

Levin, E’17, is a mechan­ical engi­neering major and co-​​founder of the North­eastern Climbing Team. He says his journey to Amer­ican Ninja War­rior began during child­hood when he dis­cov­ered his pas­sion for myriad phys­ical activ­i­ties and com­pe­ti­tion. As a kid he tried flying trapeze and earned his second-​​degree black belt. But when he took his first rock-​​climbing lesson at age 4, he was hooked.

Levin won his first national cham­pi­onship at age 9 in speed climbing. Over the next decade of com­peting in the U.S. and more than 20 coun­tries, he cap­tured 18 more national cham­pi­onships as well as mul­tiple U.S. speed climbing records and the bronze medal at the 2008 Youth World Championships.

He has trained at Amer­ican Ninja War­rior gyms across the country and had hoped to apply last season before a torn labrum in his left shoulder side­lined him from rock climbing and training for a full year.

Last season two com­peti­tors became the first ever to com­plete all the stages in the Las Vegas finals, and the faster of the two won the $1 mil­lion prize. Now nearly fully healed, Levin has his sights set on becoming the youngest winner ever.

Com­peting for his mentor

Levin credits much of his suc­cess and pas­sion for climbing to his mentor and first coach, Stacey Li Col­lver. In 2003, she was diag­nosed with an incur­able lung dis­ease and is cur­rently on the wait list for a second double-​​lung trans­plant. Levin said that if he were to win Amer­ican Ninja War­rior, he would donate a por­tion of his win­nings for her med­ical expenses.

In his appli­ca­tion video for the show, Levin said, “She’s the biggest inspi­ra­tion in my life, and I want to win this for her.”