If you are a fan of NBC’s American Ninja Warrior (ANW), make sure to keep an eye on contestant Gary Weiland who made history as the first amputee to reach the show’s semifinals. Gary first competed on Season 14, but an unfortunate slip off the log-runner obstacle knocked him out of the competition. An article by Makenzi Henderson for WGEM followed the firefighter’s journey from amputation to reaching the Season 15 semifinals.
As a firefighter, father, and active individual, Gary was understandably devastated when he lost his left leg in 2018. Determined to not let his disability limit him, Gary returned to work and started training for ANW. Although he was eliminated during Season 14, Gary is back this year and conquered the jumbo rollers which ended his first run.
“For me personally, I had to work on my balance a lot this year, so I have PVC pipes that I walk across and jump across to try and work on my balance. I have slack lines that I’ve been working on,” Weiland said. “Really focusing on my lower body because I didn’t want that log runner to beat me this year.”
Securing the 12th spot, Gary then had to face off against the person ranked number 13 to reach the semifinals. He is the first amputee to do so and proudly represents what the limb loss and limb difference community is capable of.
In addition to being a firefighter, Gary has also become a children’s book author, and motivational speaker. Also, he recently was a speaker during the 2023 Amputee Coalition National Conference in Orlando, Florida, and gave an AC Talk titled ‘Adapt and Overcome.’
The semifinal episode of ANW was broadcast on Monday, August 14. Learn more about Gary at www.garyweiland.com and follow him on Facebook (@gary.weiland.94) and Instagram (@gary_weiland).