WARWICK — Carson Dean navigates his home gym, Laid-back Fitness, swinging from ring to ring, traversing the walls with balance and muscular endurance. He’s only 13 and he’s a ninja – looking forward to his national television debut on American Ninja Warrior Junior airing on Universal Kids.
Dean, a student at St. Kevin School in Warwick, has been training at his gym since he had his ninth birthday party there in February 2016. When his episode airs on Friday, April 17, 6 p.m., he will show America how he can tackle any obstacle with agility and strength.
The spinoff of American Ninja Warrior, ANW Junior is an adapted version of the show for kids aged 9-14. It uses a head to head tournament style format and is one of the most popular strength sports on television.
Early last month, his mother Cindy Dean sat alongside other Ninja parents at the Rhode Island gym, all watching their children work through the obstacle course in awe. She shared that her son has been training for local ninja competitions in New England for the past 3-4 years. When the Dean family found out that he would have a chance to participate on American Ninja Warrior Junior they couldn’t believe it.
“We were in complete shock, we never expected a regular kid from Rhode Island would make it on a national T.V. show like this,” she said. “I actually thought they were joking when they called me to tell me that Carson was chosen. I was so incredibly proud of him and all of his hard work, and so excited for him to be a part of this American Ninja Warrior community.”
David Irving, his principal at St. Kevin School, said that he knew that Dean really enjoys doing obstacle courses, but to be able to compete at it on this level is truly remarkable.
“All of his hard work and dedication is truly paying off. I know his classmates and school will be cheering him on during this process.”
Irving shared that the Saint Kevin School community is very supportive of all its students and their talents.
“We all have our unique abilities. This is one that his classmates and school can get behind and support him during this process. I'm sure the whole school will be watching.”
After coaches encouraged all of the kids from his gym to fill out an online application, Dean thought it would be fun to apply, but he never really expected to be chosen. He shared that the trainers at Laid-back Fitness have really helped him along his Ninja journey.
“They are always encouraging me to go one step further and to not give up,” he said. “They make sure I train hard even if I want to be lazy. I like that I get stronger by doing fun obstacles, and there are always new obstacles to overcome every time I go to the gym.”
Although he couldn’t give away the results from his performance, he shared how he was feeling moments before he competed on American Ninja Warrior.
“I felt excited and confident,” he said. “I want to apply for the adult show when I turn 19 so I will keep training hard for that.”
For other kids interested in taking part in American Ninja Warrior Junior, Dean shared some helpful advice.
“Start training at your local ninja gym and do as many local competitions as you can. And don’t give up, even if an obstacle is hard you will get it with enough practice.”
Cindy Dean shared that this entire experience has been positive for her son and she couldn’t be more proud.
“Before he started ninja training, he was a shy little boy who really didn't have much confidence in himself at all. Once he started training and overcoming small obstacles in the gym, we saw his confidence go up and up. Now he seems to have no fear at all and is willing to try just about anything. His coaches at Laid-back Fitness have literally changed his life for the better, I am forever grateful that we found this gym when we did for him.”
Tune in to watch Carson compete on Friday, April 17, 6 p.m. In Rhode Island, watch on channel 263 on Verizon Fios, channel 185 on Cox Cable, channel 295 on Direct TV. It will also be shown on Hulu Live.
Visit https://www.universalkids.com/shows/american-ninja-warrior-junior for more info on how to watch!