Drew Drechsel bested Daniel Gil in Stage 4 to secure the cash prize, becoming only the second contestant ever to take home $1 million

By Jen Juneau
September 17, 2019 10:32 AM
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American Ninja Warrior just awarded its second-ever million-dollar prize — to Drew Drechsel!

The newly crowned season 11 champion is only the third contestant to ever conquer the entirety of Mount Midoriyama in under 30 seconds, making it through Stage 4 in less than 28 seconds, as his competitor Daniel Gil — despite making it to the top of the 75-foot rope climb, didn’t beat the clock.

The gym owner got visibly emotional as Gil made his final ascent and Drechsel was announced as the winner, tears coming to his eyes as the co-competitors hugged and Gil raised Drechsel’s hand into the air, smiles on both their faces as they took in the moment.

Drew Drechsel
Drew Drechsel

Drechsel nabbed the coveted title at the national finals in Las Vegas on Monday night, placing him among the limited ranks of only one other $1 million winner in the show’s history: Isaac Caldiero, who scaled Midoriyama in under 30 seconds to take home the cash in 2015.

Drechsel has been competing on American Ninja Warrior since its third season and has made it to the national finals six times, according to TVLine. The outlet reports that he made it to Stage 3 three times, winning $100,000 in 2018.

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In June, Drechsel and his fellow-athlete girlfriend April Beckner, a “Ninja Coach,” announced they are expecting their first child, a baby boy, this December.

“To watch Drew conquer a goal that has consumed him for years has been one of the greatest moments of our lives.
It’s so cool to say my boyfriends a millionaire, but to say that he’s a grand champion is something $1,000,000 can’t buy,” Beckner wrote on Instagram following Drechsel’s big win. “And to top it all off, this whole time we’re creating this little human who’s not even here yet and has been apart of this whole experience with us.”

“Can’t wait to meet our baby boy come early December, watch him grow, look back, and share this moment with him one day. I just know he’s going to be so proud of his Daddy 💕,” she added. “@reallifeninja I’m so happy for you, you deserve this!”