Pasadenan Burk Makes 'American Ninja Warrior' Finals

Published : Wednesday, July 17, 2019 | 4:55 AM

Pasadenan Brian Burk competes in Las Vegas. Image courtesy Brian Burk via Facebook

Pasadena resident Brian Burk survived a class with 33 other ninjas in the Los Angeles city finals and advance to the National Finals of American Ninja Warrior in Las Vegas.

In the city finals Tuesday, Burk was the first competitor of the night and made an impressive save on The Hinge as he nearly went out on the board. He failed one obstacle later at the Leaps of Faith, but it was good enough for a 10th place overall and a hall pass to Vegas.

Burk, an aerospace engineering student at Cal Poly Pomona who has high-functioning autism, advanced to the Los Angeles city finals on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior season 11 after inspiring everyone and placing 9th overall in the qualifying run.

“To stand up at the start line at the qualifiers was just a very surreal experience,” said Burk, an aerospace engineering student at Cal Poly Pomona with high-functioning autism. “It was unbelievable that I actually got to compete on a real course.”

“You don’t expect an autistic child to be able to reach out to a crowd,” Pamela Burk, Brian’s mom, said about the qualifiers. “He has never done that and has never interacted with people. That’s the first time he’s ever done that.”

Burk’s family and friends cheered him on as he made his way through the course. The 20-year-old, who’s earned the monicker “The Burkinator” on ANW, graduated from Pasadena High School in 2017.

Hosted by Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila, with Suri Hall as sideline reporter, American Ninja Warrior airs Mondays, 8 p.m.

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