Blacksburg teen to compete on 'American Ninja Warrior'

Teenager is ready to climb to top of national competition

By Lindsey Kennett - Reporter

BLACKSBURG, Va. - A Blacksburg teenager overcame his health issues to chase his dream. Now he's getting ready to climb his way to the top of a national competition.

Jody Freeman was selected to compete on "American Ninja Warror." The 19-year-old trains five days a week. He and his father even built an obstacle course in their backyard.

Freeman was first inspired to try out for "American Ninja Warrior" when he was 12 years old after he watched the show on TV. The very next year, he began climbing.

At 5 feet, 5 inches tall and 115 pounds, Freeman says he's worked hard to gain strength.

"I've always been a small kid. That's just genetics," Freeman said. "I was premature and born with omphalocele and that's basically the body wall on my stomach hadn't finished closing yet and so part of my liver was outside my body when I was born. And so I had to have surgery for that right away."

Freeman says climbing isn't just a hobby, it's how he'll reach his dreams.

"It's been my dream," Freeman said. "I want to go have fun and see if I can really do it."

Freeman heads to the qualifiers in Atlanta on March 23. If he passes that round and the citywide competition, he could move on to the national competition in Las Vegas.

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