Ninja hopeful’s incredible transformation
An Australian Ninja Warrior newbie who blitzed the course during Monday's episode was a dreadlocked couch potato just 12 months earlier.
Matthew Marazita, 21, was one of only a handful of contestants to make it up the warped wall during the latest Ninja Warrior episode, finishing in second place for the night.
It was an incredible result when you consider Matthew's backstory: After being injured in a car accident, he fell into depression and became a recluse for eight months.
"I pretty much sucked at life. Home 24/7, not seeing anyone, getting fired from three jobs. I felt extremely depressed … there was just nothing keeping me going anymore," he said.
Startling before and after pictures showed what Marazita used to look like:
It was Ninja Warrior - specifically, "Barefoot Ninja" Daniel Mason - that inspired him to get out of his bedroom and work on his fitness.
"(Daniel) introduced me to Ninja Warrior training. That's the point where I shaved my dreadlocks off, met new people … I'm so happy how life has turned out in the past year. That's why I love Ninja Warrior," he said.
Elsewhere in Monday's episode, longtime Ninja favourite Ryan Solomon returned to take on the course for a third year in a row, having been a grand finalist in season one and semi-finalist in season two. He revealed he and wife Amy have had a very rocky 12 months.
"We started with our wedding, almost right after Ninja finished last year, which was the best day of our lives," Ryan said.
The couple were on their honeymoon when Amy discovered she was pregnant. Then, tragedy struck.
"Sadly, we lost our little baby at 18 weeks. Those were some of the lowest lows. Amy's still recovering mentally, physically … but the toughest of tough things just brings us together," Ryan said.
Ryan placed a very respectable seventh, making it through to the Ninja Warrior semi-finals.
Australian Ninja Warrior continues 7.30pm Tuesday on Nine.