'American Ninja Warrior' video: Joe Moravsky and Noah Kaufman face Stage 1

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After a season of stiff competition, the "American Ninja Warior" National Finals have arrived. Stage 1 of the final competition begins Monday, Aug. 18, which determined who will move forward. The ultimate goal, as always, is Mount Midoriyama, which has yet to be conquered on "American Ninja Warrior."

Zap2it, along with another outlet, visited the course during the finals to speak to one of the hopefuls, Joe Moravsky. In the shadow of Mount Midoriyama, surrounded by cheering fans, he knows the odds are against him but won't let that dictate his future. "Since last year was my rookie season, I know that typically rookies that come in strong first season go out reasonably early their second time around," he says. "I just didn't want to be a statistic."

As you can see in the clip of his Stage 1 run above, which is exclusive to Zap2it, Moravsky definitely seems to be on a roll. The question is whether he will be able to match the pace he set for himself previously. "Last year I made it to stage three," he remembers. "The floating boards were a big pain, but hopefully redemption will be nice this year."

Moravsky, like many of the competitors on "American Ninja Warrior," first entered the competition as a fan. "Coming in as a rookie in Season 5, I had plenty of reason to be a fan," he explains. However, he soon came to understand the show was as physical a competition as any other sport. 

He says a big part of his preparation is "watching video, studying just like any football player might study their opponent, or basketball player -- any sport -- I did the same thing with this sport." As a meteorologist outside of the competition, he realized something else, though. "I know there are a lot of calculations to be made in places," he says with a smile. "It's a little nerdy."

Now, with only his fellow Ninja Warriors and the course in his way, Moravsky hopes to be the first to conquer Mount Midoriyama. One of those other competitors is Noah Kaufman, who entered Season 5 without training and still made it to Stage 2. Now, after adequately preparing for what he faces, Kaufman stands a decent chance of going all the way. You can see a piece of his Stage 1 run below.

Stage 1 of the "American Ninja Warrior" National Finals begins Monday, Aug. 18, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC with an encore presentation on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Esquire Network.
Photo/Video credit: NBC