What does the self-described Eskimo Ninja do to prep for the Las Vegas finals of American Ninja Warrior? Set a world record in the men’s scissor broad jump during the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics in Fairbanks.
Nick Iligutchiak Hanson’s leap of 37 feet, 5 inches last week pushed him into the record books and added another gold medal to his collection from the Arctic Winter Games and the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. The previous world record for the event was 36 feet, 7 inches. Yep, Nick set that record, too.
You might say his world-record leap vaults him into top form as he heads to the American Ninja finals in Las Vegas , where he will vie for the $1 million Ninja Warrior prize.
Nick — featured this month in a Play Every Day PSA to promote the importance of helping children be physically active every day — made it to the Los Angeles finals by nailing the obstacle course in the season premiere in Los Angeles that aired June 1. Over 6 million viewers watched the feat, according to Hollywood Reporter, making the premiere the most-watched network program of the night.
Nick then made it through the LA finals in the July 11 episode, qualifying him to compete in the Vegas finals later this summer.The show airs Mondays at 7 p.m.
What looks like a seamless run of success took years to develop. Nick competed in the Native Youth Olympics as a teenager and believes his subsistence lifestyle has helped him develop resilience and strength as an athlete. Last season, his first on American Ninja, he missed the regional finals by a fraction of a second.
Missing the cut prompted him to refocus and train harder, one of the key messages he wants to share and embody for the kids of his village, Unalakleet. They were the ones who convinced him to audition for American Ninja in the first place. They’re the ones who flock to his no-cost running club and join in games of tag and hide-and-seek. And they’re the ones Nick wants to inspire to dream big, work hard, and care about their community.
The 28-year-old teaching assistant coaches youth in basketball, volleyball and Native Olympic events, and mentors other Alaska athletes who want a shot at American Ninja. As a member of Arctic Winter Games Team Alaska, Nick proves that the Arctic games might be the training ground for the next Ninja Warrior.
Look for Nick on his You Tube channel, The Eskimo Ninja, and on TV in our PSA and American Ninja Warrior.