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American Ninja Warrior

Did You Know ...

One of Jacob's favorite television shows was American Ninja Warrior. When Jacob was sick, he only came home for about a two week cumulative time period throughout his six-month battle. There were nights that he was awake until 4:00am, watching ANW episodes on DVR. Jacob's mom would awaken to sounds of Jacob cheering for people hitting the buzzer, or lamenting over those failing short. He thought every, single, person was going to go all the way and was so supportive and compassionate of everyone who competed.


Everything about the show highlights characteristics that Jacob possessed; physical and mental strength, a teammate mentality, compassion, intensity, and a self-motivated desire to achieve. Jacob would have one day competed on ANW and would have been the next American Ninja Warrior. 

After Jacob passed away, his mom, Sarah, decided that she would train for and hopefully compete on American Ninja Warrior because Jacob never would. She had never considered training for an upper body challenge like this because she had surgery on both shoulders at age 18 and was told not to compromise those joints or do too much over-your-head type of exercises. In spite of that, she began to do some traditional strength training in mid-October. Sarah heard about the Real Life Ninja Academy in Windsor, CT when Ms. Elizabeth told her about a commercial she heard on the radio, two weeks before it opened. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Sarah had her first opportunity to play on Ninja obstacles. 

At the end of the first class, Sarah shared with Coach Joe Dubuc her motivation for coming to the gym that day. She told Joe that she didn't think she would be ready to compete on the upcoming Season 9 of ANW, so she didn't submit an application. A few classes after that, Joe told Sarah that he spoke with a Casting Director who said she'd have a good shot at "getting a call" if she submitted an application. Joe and Coach Jess helped Sarah film the video portion of her application; Joe even let Sarah wear his shoes because they're the best for getting up the warped wall. And with that, Sarah submitted her application for Season 9 of American Ninja Warrior.

In the months following, Sarah trained at the Real Life Ninja Academy two nights a week. She competed in her first which was hosted by RLNA on April 1, 2017. In the beginner competition, Sarah didn't do very well, failing on a balance obstacle she'd faced many times. But in the experienced competition later that day, Sarah placed third among the females, some of whom had competed previously on American Ninja Warrior.

Two days later, Sarah "Got the Call"; American Ninja Warrior was inviting Sarah to compete in Cleveland on May 8 for the City Qualifiers round. The Cleveland episode of Season 9 aired on July 10th, 2017 at 8:00pm on NBC. Sarah and her family couldn't be happier with the production of the piece that ANW put together about Sarah, Jacob, and their family. (You can watch the clip below!) Everyone on the crew and set of American Ninja Warrior and all of the Casting Producers and camera- and sound-people were amazing and so kind. The other ninjas that competed in Cleveland, in other cities, those that didn't get the call - the entire ninja community - have all been so supportive and welcoming. It is truly another family that has welcomed Sarah and the Poulins with open arms.

Sarah's Early Training Days

Sarah's Early Training Days

Below are some videos of Sarah's Ninja journey. She made a lot of progress since the early days, but is looking forward to getting training hard and getting better and better. It's a bittersweet journey as it is likely one that Sarah never would have been on if Jacob were still with us. It is also a journey she plans to continue on as she hopes to become the next American Ninja Warrior, like Jacob would have been.

We've posted many of the videos from the beginning to show people that you can do anything you put your mind to. Everyone is on their own journey, their own path, and it always starts at the beginning. If you're willing to work at it, you can do anything, and there are people out there that want you to succeed. Go for it!

Humble Beginnings

A Little More Experience

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