Levi Meeuwenberg (リーヴァイ・ミューエンバーグ) is perhaps the strongest competitor to come out of the American preliminary competition, the American Ninja Challenge. He is a Professional Freerunner nicknamed Skynative and he was a representative of Team Tempest during his time in Jump City: Seattle.
Meeuwenberg debuted in SASUKE 20 and wore #1989 as he was the #1 qualifier for the second American Ninja Challenge competition. During the tournament, he performed very well. He was able to overcome every obstacle in the First Stage and clear with an amazing 16.01 seconds on the clock. He would end up being one of only three people to clear the First Stage in that tournament. In the Second Stage, he was again able to breeze through all of the obstacles, including the Salmon Ladder and finished with 38.5 seconds remaining, a Second Stage record for most time remaining on the clock. In that tournament, he was the only competitor to reach the Third Stage. He did well on the first three obstacles, but became fatigued on the Shin-Cliffhanger and ultimately could not land on the third ledge.
In his next attempt, SASUKE 21, he wore #99 (his highest starting position ever). His First Stage has become infamous among SASUKE fans for his recent showboating which includes flipping off the platform before the Jumping Spider's trampoline and on the Soritatsu Kabe. Still, he cleared the First Stage with over 21 seconds left. On the second stage, he struggled and failed on the sixth rung on the Salmon Ladder.
His third attempt was in SASUKE 22. He was given an automatic bid based on his SASUKE 20 performance, just like for SASUKE 21. There, he again showed great speed, even doing a side flip before the Jumping Spider. However, when he got to the new Slider Jump, the bar was off center, and when trying to correct this, his hand hit the rails of the Slider Jump and he was only able to get one hand on the net before failing. In his interview, he said: "I don't know if it was my technique... but [it] definitely felt different."Meeuwenberg then had to earn a spot for SASUKE 23 and placed second among the Americans in the American Ninja Warrior competition. In the tournament, he would once again fly through the course. He was able to get his revenge on the Slider Jump and cleared the First Stage with 29.20 seconds left, a Shin-SASUKE First Stage speed record. In the Second Stage, he went on to clear the Salmon Ladder that took him out in SASUKE 21 and cleared the Second Stage with the fastest time. However, in the Third Stage, while getting himself up to the slanted ledge on the Cliffhanger (which he had built a replica of at home), he slipped and fell into the water. After the interview, Levi did a corkscrew flip back into the water. He is the only person to fail this same cliffhanger twice.
SASUKE 25 Debacle
Some strange circumstances surrounded Meeuwenberg in SASUKE 25 similar to those of Yamada Katsumi's run in SASUKE 12. In the lottery, he drew #39. After starting the new first obstacle, the Dome Steps, he slipped and balanced himself by using his hands for support, resulting in disqualification. Meeuwenberg protested, stating that he was not told that using his hands was illegal. He was granted a second Stage One attempt, which in itself isn't unusual. Strangely, however, he was given a new bib, #48, which had originally been drawn by 3-D sculptor and SASUKE veteran Aoki Yasuo. In the list of competitors aired before Stage Two, Aoki was listed as #39. Furthermore, Aoki was not broadcast but it is known he failed the Dome Steps.
After the dust settled, Meeuwenberg again claimed the fastest time in the First Stage, 19.16 seconds remaining. In the Second Stage, he failed the first obstacle, the Slider Drop, not knowing the drop in the track could result in failure.
Levi then earned a spot in SASUKE 26 through American Ninja Warrior 2, but due to a wrist injury in a parkour event in Seattle he was forced to withdraw from the competition and ended up giving his spot to Adam Laplante. Though he wasn't able to compete in that tournament, Meeuwenberg was still invited to come along to support his fellow U.S. qualifiers.
Levi however did compete American Ninja Warrior 4, however he failed the Quad Steps (Godantobi in Japanese), the very first obstacle. It was clear he was very tired as he had flown in from the Phillippines hours beforehand and tried to rush.
He has not competed in American Ninja Warrior ever since. It is known that he stopped free running altogether, and became a farmer instead. He is also a stuntman for movies and only does a little of Parkour and Freerunning.
- Meeuwenberg is the only competitor to get the fastest times in the first two stages (excluding the times he's failed those stages).
- Only competitor to fail the Shin-Cliffhanger more than once (SASUKE 20 and SASUKE 23).
- First full-time American to be the Last Man Standing.
- With Meeuwenberg receiving number 99 in SASUKE 21, it would eventually be the highest number given to an American in SASUKE history.
|20||1989||Failed Shin-Cliffhanger (Third Stage)||Transition to third ledge. Last man standing. Set the Second Stage time record.|
|21||99||Failed Salmon Ladder (Second Stage)||Sixth rung.|
|22||91||Failed Slider Jump (First Stage)|
|23||95||Failed Shin-Cliffhanger (Third Stage)||Transition to second ledge.|
|25||48||Failed Slider Drop (Second Stage)||Failed Drop.|