Zach Gowen wasn't quite able to advance to the next round at an American Ninja Warrior qualifier in Indianapolis, but it's fair to say he was just as popular as anyone who did.
Gowen, a professional wrestler whose left leg was amputated at the age of 8 because of cancer, walked up to the starting line with his prosthetic leg on, ready to attack the competition. But he then made a bold move to absolutely stun everyone in attendance.
Only seconds before opening his course, Gowen decided to remove his artificial leg and proceed to compete with solely his right leg, leaving a crowd filled with friends, fans and fellow competitors completely agape.
But Gowen's miracle was only just starting. As is shown in the following video posted to American Ninja Warrior's YouTube account, the 33-year-old put his disability aside to make it through the first three obstacles – remarkably including one that involved a series of five-foot hops between diagonal platforms – rapidly inspiring an increasingly rowdy crowd of supporters in the process:
Ultimately, Gowen did fall into the course's pool roughly 2:20 into his run, resulting in an automatic disqualification, but his heroic effort was clearly only a failure on paper. With the ensuing standing ovation from an audience still in disbelief, Gowen still proved himself to have the heart of a champion.
Gowen was the 2003 Pro Wrestling Illustrated Rookie of the Year and has worked for WWE and TNA. He will resume his career in Juggalo Championship Wrestling later this year – with a new group of supporters at his back.
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