Episode 5 of "American Ninja Warrior" Season 7 may have only been the Pittsburgh city qualifying round, but Joe Moravsky, who sported a custom Mt. Midoriyama t-shirt while competing, has his eyes set on the Las Vegas national finals. The Connecticut native is back for a third go at the NBC series, still hoping to be the first person to claim the title of "American Ninja Warrior. In Season 6, he advanced further than other contestant, reaching stage 3 of the Mt. Midoriyama. His Season 7 run at the title got off to a great start in Pittsburgh, where he recorded the second fastest time of anyone on the course. Moravsky caught up with International Business Times after his Pittsburgh run to discuss his quest for Mt. Midoriyama.
Read the full interview with Joe Moravsky below:
International Business Times: Having been to the Las Vegas finals for two straight years, how do you stay focused on the city qualifying run and not look ahead?
Joe Moravsky: I definitely have my long term goal set on the finals, but you have to take it one course, one obstacle at a time. With that mindset I was really able to attack the course and be successful.
IBTimes: Do you feel a lot of pressure and expectations having been to the finals before?
Moravsky: I feel like because I've been consistent the last two years there is a lot of pressure to be consistent again, but I have to remember that if I do fall, it's not the end of the world. If I fall, it wasn't meant to be this year.
IBTimes: You sound a lot more relaxed than you did after last season.
Moravsky: Yeah, I definitely think that the more you are on the show the better sense you get of what to expect and, with that, dealing with the pressure becomes a little easier.
IBTimes: Last year you had to reschedule your wedding for the Las Vegas finals and this year, you've joked that you're running for diapers (Moravsky's wife, Stephanie, is pregnant with their first child). Is starting a family part of why you are more relaxed this season?
Moravsky: Yeah, you could say so. I am definitely more calm knowing I can go home no matter what the outcome is in Pittsburgh or Vegas. It puts things in perspective for me. Don't get me wrong, though, my dream is always to be the first "American Ninja Warrior," but if that doesn't work I go back to my family and I'm grateful for what I have.
IBTimes: Did you design the Mt. Midoriyama t-shirt you wore in Pittsburgh?
Moravsky: I came up with the design and had a company called Know Obstacles print the shirt for me. It was something to show people that this is what I'm focused on. It's not about Pittsburgh, it's about the finals. It's all about hitting all six buttons, two in Pittsburgh and the four in Las Vegas.
IBTimes: How did you approach an obstacle you have never seen before?
Moravsky: I really trust my science background when I interpret what needs to be done. I think about the physics behind it. Am I supposed to run down one side of the obstacle or go back and forth from side to side? What's the most efficient way?
IBTimes: Were there any surprises in Pittsburgh?
Moravsky: The wind chimes were a new obstacle. The snake crossing was a new obstacle. It was really fun and I love the new obstacles because it makes the veterans and rookies all nervous.
IBTimes: Speaking of rookies, have any of the new athletes this season impressed you?
Moravsky: I've trained with Geoff Britten as much as I can because I hear from all my friends that he is the best off the couch rock climber they've ever seen and he climbs harder things than me. I picked him to win last year and he went out on the jumping spider, but I've been telling everybody that this is the guy to watch out for.
IBTimes: But you still consider yourself the favorite, right?
Moravsky: Yeah, I would definitely say so.
Watch Joe Moravsky's Pittsburgh run below:
"American Ninja Warrior" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EDT on NBC.