Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Season 12 of "American Ninja Warrior" features Chickasaw citizen


September 2, 2020

Akil Currie

Perseverance and a connection to his Chickasaw heritage helped Akil Currie achieve his childhood dream. His upcoming Sept. 7 appearance on NBC's "American Ninja Warrior" is the culmination of that dream.

Passionate about fitness and the TV series, he is living life to the fullest by chasing down his dreams of being a professional athlete.

"My family is extremely proud of me," Currie said. "They have watched me watch Ninja Warrior for years. I drove my mom crazy watching the program. I told her one day I would be on the show. Now I am."

His mother is Atiera Currie. Now 21, he started training years before he would get an audition for "American Ninja Warrior." He began taking his physical condition seriously in high school, where he played football for the Trojans in Troy, Missouri. While a severe head injury ended his football career, it opened the door to weight training.

He credits the Chickasaw Nation with inspiring him to pursue a career as a personal trainer. While working for the tribe's summer youth program, Toksali SMART, Currie was assigned a position at the Chickasaw Nation Ada Wellness Center.

"I just love that environment. I feel like fitness can bring people together," Currie said. "I learned what showing up on time and hard work can accomplish. The Chickasaw Nation allowed me to choose my passion at an early age."

The selection process to be on "American Ninja Warrior" is tough. Tens of thousands of people apply. Currie was selected to be on the show based on his talent and his story.

"I brought up how I am Chickasaw. They loved that. I was able to explain to them that the Chickasaw Nation is a very loving, united community. They loved it," Currie said.

"My story is one thing, but the fact that I know I have Chickasaw blood and that Chickasaw warrior inside of me gives me another level of confidence. I can display it, I can back it up. It's in my blood. I am a proud Chickasaw," Currie said.

Once he knew he was selected to appear on "American Ninja Warrior," Currie adjusted his workout regimen to include more endurance training. Training overall for eight years, Currie had a year to train specifically for "American Ninja Warrior."

He lost weight, going from 230 down to 200 pounds. He felt to give his best performance he would need to be leaner. This experience taught him physical training was not enough; he needed mental preparation as well.

"There is physical training, and then there is mental training. It all starts up here," Currie said, pointing to his head. "That applies with everything, not only preparing for Ninja Warrior. If you are going to the gym, it all starts in your brain first."

Currie is pleased to represent the Chickasaw Nation in this competition. His family is proud of what he is accomplishing. The oldest of four boys, he is an inspiration to his brothers.

"My mom is excited," he said. "My little brothers have been supportive, as well. My youngest brother has drawn pictures of me as a superhero, putting them up on the fridge."

Currie wants to pursue a career in physical fitness. His first goal is receiving his certification to be a personal trainer so he can help people maintain healthy lifestyles.

About the show

For season 12 of NBC's "American Ninja Warrior," which was filmed in St. Louis at the Dome at America's Center, the top 50 athletes will bring along two people from their communities to compete with them for a total of 150 competitors. The season will feature an abridged format with multiple rounds: qualifiers (six-obstacle course), semi-finals (10-obstacle course) and finals (10 obstacle course and the Power Tower playoff bracket). To determine the winner during the finals, the top eight competitors will compete in a playoff bracket where they will race head to head on the Power Tower. The winner will earn $100,000.


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