*As seen in the Bagpiper, written by Alexander Duros
Recent graduate David Fleming ‘22 has achieved great accomplishments so far, such as enrolling at Yale University and inventing a headache relief device that has earned him a finalist spot for a university-wide healthcare innovation prize. Now, he can add another to his list: after years of hard work and training, Fleming is now a two-time competitor on the famous TV show American Ninja Warrior.
As Fleming shared, the application process for the show consists of different short answer questions and an edited video submission.
“It might be more complicated and involved than some people might imagine,” said Fleming.
However, he was well prepared for this process. In fact, he has been training for four years at Jumptwist Ninja gym, owned by Saint Andrew’s alumna Christina Gambino ‘06.
Along with owning Jumptwist Ninja Gym here in Boca Raton, Ms. Gambino has competed in Seasons 9, 10, 11, and –soon-to-be– season 16 of American Ninja Warrior.
Ms. Gambino describes owning a Ninja gym as “very rewarding but stressful.”
“I do love it and the fact that I make people happy. Kids and adults are off their phones getting bonding time, working out, serotonins going, and always smiles everywhere,” said Ms.Gambino.
With Ms. Gambino's guidance at Jumptwist Ninja gym, Fleming has continued training full-time along with continuing his academic journey at Yale University, where he is double majoring in Economics and Philosophy.
Ms.Gambino, on the other hand, graduated from Baruch College with a BBA in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management and a minor in Political Science.
Competitors on the show, such as Fleming and Ms. Gambino, differ in age range and skill level and also find out about the competition in different ways.
Fleming wanted to participate in the show from a young age but couldn’t due to health reasons.
“It was always something I wanted to participate in when I was older, but for much of my life, I couldn’t due to various health issues; it never seemed like it could be a possibility,” said Fleming.
Ms. Gambino was introduced to the show via a friend.
“I got into it because a friend was a fan of the show and told me I would be great at it, so I just applied and they picked me and that was before I did any training,” said Ms. Gambino.
The ninja warrior course consists of different obstacles ranging in skill level. Fleming describes his favorite part of the course as “anything that involves flying through the air.”
Ms. Gambino’s favorite obstacle on the course is the warped wall.
“I love the warped wall because it's like three times my height and it took me two years to get it. When I got it, the feeling of accomplishment was so big, and I do love that,” said Ms. Gambino.
Both Fleming and Ms.Gambino think fondly of their time at Saint Andrew’s.
“I love the campus, I love the faculty, I love chapel. It all was the best experience,” said Ms. Gambino.
Fleming describes his favorite moment from SA as when he met Yussif Basa-Ama’20. “On my first day as a Scot, he was sitting next to me in math class and said, ‘See you tomorrow, big man,’ and it was just this really warm genuine interaction with him and helped me feel really welcomed in the Saint Andrew’s community,” said Fleming.
As it turns out, Fleming and Basa-Ama are now fellow students at Yale.
Both Fleming and Ms. Gambino dreamed big and embraced challenges to reach their goals.
“My motto is to embrace your obstacles.[Ninja Warrior] is a constantly evolving sport where you have new challenges that get increasingly harder every single time you try out the course,” said Fleming.
Ms. Gambino shared similar encouragement.
“If your goals or dreams are really big and they scare you, then that's the right thing. Do not be discouraged,” said Ms. Gambino.
View the newest edition of the Bagpiper here.