RORY Rhodes is one step closer to being named Australia's first ever Ninja Warrior.
The former Caboolture man, who recently moved to Charters Towers, impressed in his TV debut on the reality sports competition last night.
As the show's tallest competitor standing at 203cm tall, Rory's height and weight were advantages on some segments of the obstacle course but were a hindrances on others.
"It's not all about the biggest and strongest," he said. "It was a little daunting and intimidating because it's such a big arena and you're doing it live and in front of people, but it all comes down to what I could do on the day."
Despite not finishing the entire course - falling off the ball and chain segment - his speed was enough to qualify for the semi-finals.
The 24-year-old had a promising future as a baseball player in the US before a shoulder injury cut his career short.
"My mum and dad got me and my brother playing T-ball at Narangba Demons Baseball Club from when we were about four and five years old," he said.
"By the time we were 10 we started to get noticed for local teams and eventually both my brother and I got a chance to play for Queensland and Australia. Out of that came an opportunity to sign a contract (with the Minnesota Twins)."
It was in America that Rory was first introduced to the Ninja Warrior craze. The show, which originated in Japan, is so popular in the US it has spawned a chain of Ninja-style gyms.
"I always wanted to do it (Ninja Warrior) and when I saw the ad (for the Australian series) I got straight on to an application.
"I just love the excitement of trying to get past the next one or beat an obstacle you haven't beaten before."
During the most difficult points in the mentally and physically gruelling obstacle course, which has been too tough for dozens of contestants including several former Olympians, Rory found inspiration in his late grandmother.
"My grandmother battled with bowel cancer for 15 years and just seeing her fight so many battles, she overcame a lot and she never needed recognition for it," he said.
"Unfortunately she never got to come over and watch me play (baseball) overseas. Unfortunately she passed away last month but I'm sure she'll be watching (me on Ninja Warrior) one way or the other."
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