SARATOGA SPRINGS — Nine-year-old Oliver “Ollie” Huss remembers that he was 5 when he first watched the "American Ninja Warrior" TV show.
The limber athletes jumping from floating steps and swinging from obstacle to obstacle mesmerized him.
“I fell in love with it,” Oliver said.
Ollie’s father, Eric Huss, built some obstacles in Ollie’s grandfather’s garage to start him off. Over the next four years, the obstacles would move to his mother’s house to become an entire gym built into her garage.
“It’s almost like playing (for him),” his mother, Jenny Huss, said about her son's training. “He goes out almost every day, multiple times a day.”
Inside the garage gym, he has a small climbing wall, hoops hanging from the ceiling to swing to and from, a couple of monkey bars and a child-size ramp to run up like the one at the end of an "American Ninja Warrior" course. The only times he isn’t training is when he’s waiting for blisters to heal.
It wasn’t long before the young Huss had a team to play with. His father put feelers out in the Saratoga Springs community to gather other interested kids, and soon they were practicing alongside Oliver in his garage gym.
These days, the Saratoga team travels to National Ninja League tournaments across the region.
In July, Oliver competed on an even larger stage in the first-ever 'American Ninja Warrior Junior' televised season against kids from all over the country in the age 9-10 bracket.
Oliver and his Saratoga team will appear in an episode of the season, on a date to be determined.
The first of 20 episodes of the show airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on the Universal Kids television network, which is channel 255 on the Spectrum lineup in the Glens Falls area.