Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2019

He was born prematurely and had serious health challenges as a child. But New River Community College student Jody Freeman tore up the course in one of the most grueling athletic competitions on national TV.

The 19-year-old Freeman, a lifelong Blacksburg resident and standing just five-feet-five, jumped, grappled and vaulted his 115 pounds into the national championships of NBC’s American Ninja Warriors extreme athletics show.

The crowd in attendance went wild, and hosts of the show were left breathless, calling Freeman’s feats of strength nothing short of miraculous.

Freeman’s performance in the show’s qualifier in Atlanta was telecast nationwide July 22nd. The national championships were held in Las Vegas. NBC has not yet announced broadcast dates.

Freeman goes airborne during his appearance on American Ninja Warriors from Atlanta. Images courtesy NBC.

Freeman, a student in NRCC’s machine technology program, is an avid rock climber and has worked-out to overcome his childhood health challenges.

He said making it to the national championship was “awesome,” noting he wanted to make a good impression. “I’m living out even more of my dream,” he told producers. Freeman’s story has generated buzz at the fan website dedicated to the competition.

As Freeman told NRCC, “The support has been enormous, so many people either in person or online have congratulated me on my performance. I was not expecting the response to be as big as it has been.”

As much time as Freeman spends leaping from high places, he seems well-grounded. He’s in his second year in the machine technology program at New River because he likes working with his hands, and says he chose community college in large part to avoid wasting time and money at a four-year school at this point in his life.

American Ninja Warrior is in its 11th season and airs on NBC Monday nights.

Read more about Jody Freeman’s remarkable journey here.'

Craig Butterworth

A native of Richmond, Craig Butterworth is an award-winning broadcast journalist and communications professional. He has worked as a spokesperson, staff writer and editor for a variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations throughout the Richmond area.

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