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Creswell man to be featured on ‘American Ninja Warrior’ Monday

Nick Kupper, 33, of Creswell, will be on the hit television show, ”American Ninja Warrior,” Monday, June 25 at 9 p.m. on NBC. PHOTO PROVIDED/CRYSTAL KUPPER

On Monday evening, June 25, a Creswell man takes to the silver screen to test his agility, strength and perseverance in front of a national audience, as a competitor on the hit television series ”American Ninja Warrior” (ANW), which airs at 9 p.m. on NBC.
The American sports entertainment competition features men and women from every corner of the country as they train to complete unique, intense obstacle courses. Monday’s contestants will attempt to tackle Mount Midoriyama, the world’s most notorious obstacle course, and Creswell’s rookie ninja Nick Kupper, 33, will be there to scale, jump, dangle and climb his way (hopefully) to the top.
The show, now in its 10th season, is a spin-off of the Japanese television series ”Sasuke,” a show Nick, his wife, Crystal (both Creswell High School Class of 2003 alums) and four kids have watched avidly for years.
His children think he’s a superhero. They’re not wrong.
Kupper is a master sergeant in the United States Air Force, where he has been serving since he was 18 years old.
Previously, he was stationed in the boondocks of England, where the family used ANW as an American lifeline during their time away, Crystal said. All their kids got into it – Jack, 10; Jude, 7; Guyana, 7; and Avinly, 5 – especially the boys.
”Once the kids got watching the show, they really latched onto it and it became a family evening thing to sit down and watch ANW together,” Kupper said. ”My boys are typical in the sense that they love sports and the outdoors and, well, every little kid thinks their dad is a superhero.”
Kupper said that his kids saw other men and women competing on the show, and said that he should be on the show.
Not being located anywhere near a proper gym in the England boonies, Kupper promised that if the family were to ever relocate closeby to a ninja gym in America, he’d give it a shot.
It wasn’t long after returning to the States that the Kuppers realized there was a ninja gym down the street from their new home, after being relocated to Burlington County, New Jersey.
Down the street from their house, ANW superstar Chris Wilczewski owns ”Movement Lab,” a parkour and ninja warrior training gym.
”God definitely had a plan in all of that,” Crystal said. She nudged her husband to attend a viewing party at the gym, just to scope it out in July 2017. Kupper checked it out, and lo and behold, he loved it.
”It’s like an adult playground,” Kupper said. Two days later, he began his training.
By October, he’d applied to be on the show, and within a few months, he would begin competing. What will be broadcast this Monday is Kupper’s performance from May 11 in Philadelphia.
The vast majority of people who train to be ninja warriors are single, so Kupper is a bit of an anomaly on the show.
Not only do the Kuppers have four kids, but their adopted child, Guyana, also affectionately called ”Annie,” has several disabilities, including spina bifida, hydrocephalus, hearing loss, scoliosis and paralysis in one of her legs, among other conditions. She’s had seven surgeries in the last 14 months, with five just within the past year, Crystal said.
She’s a tough cookie, little Guyana is, and is a source of inspiration to her parents every day.
Guyana was born in Armenia and lived there in an orphanage for five years of her life. There, she lived in terrible conditions, often tied to her bed all day long with no toys or physical contact. The Kuppers adopted Guyana in May 2016. Last summer, almost to the date, The Chronicle featured this family, who advocated for the serious need for adoption, and featured Guyana, her sweet smile and her undeniable perseverance.
Despite her disabilities, Guyana has the best attitude, Kupper said. Every day, it inspires him. She even helps him work out.
Kupper built a ninja warrior course in his basement, and hopes to eventually build more courses outside. There are videos on Kupper’s social media pages of Guyana dangling off of her Dad’s back as he makes his way through an obstacle course. All the ninjas Kupper works out with during their ”ninja nights” love being around Guyana, Crystal said.
”The vast majority of the time, Guyana is so happy and determined to do things,” Kupper said. ”It’s amazing to see what she accomplishes with patience, and makes you question your own limits. I ask myself now, because of Guyana, ‘Am I limited to this point; is this something I cannot or can do? She thinks she can… and she does it.’ She’s definitely an inspiration for the family, to push ourselves beyond our perceived limits.”
Guyana and the rest of the Kupper family may also get camera time on Monday’s show, where the world can tune in and hear their inspirational story.
Depending on how Kupper performs on Saturday, if he succeeds in the first round, he’ll move forward with round two. If he gets within the top 15 ninjas in the second round, he will be on the final episode, which airs in September.
”Hopefully I will have done well enough that when I apply next year, I can come back,” he said.
Be sure to tune in this Monday at 9 p.m. on NBC to watch Kupper compete.
There will also be a viewing party hosted by the Kupper family as the results of the Philadelphia episode are aired on June 25. All are invited to show up at New Hope Foursquare Church, 4963 Swegle Road NE in Salem. Search ”Watch Nick Kupper Compete on American Ninja Warrior!” under Facebook events for more information.
Also follow Kupper’s journey through his social media pages, where he often posts video updates, obstacles and inspirational family photos. Find him on Facebook
@NickKupperANW and on Instagram @nick_kupper.