Paulie Calafiore has never been afraid of a challenge.
In recent years, MTV viewers have seen the reality star become a finalist—and ruffle a few feathers—on Final Reckoning and War of the Worlds 2. In fact, he's been able to beat the odds and conquer veterans like Johnny Bananas and Brad Fiorenza.
"In March 2020, when everything kind of started happening, I got a phone call from Lolo Jones and she was like, ‘Hey, would you have any interest in bobsled?'" Paulie recalled in an exclusive interview with E! News. "I was just taken off of The Challenge: Total Madness so I was like, where am I going with this? When she called about it, I was like, what else do I have to do?"
More than a year later, Paulie has transformed his physique by gaining more than 60 pounds and dedicating any and all free time to training. This week, he will be competing in the final tryouts that could put him one step closer to a spot on Team USA.
"It takes me back to my days when I was a division one and professional soccer player where the only thing that is your main focus from the start of the day to the end of the day is your training and your visualizations. You're training with intent," he explained. "I'm a competitor through and through and if that hole is not filled, I just feel like a piece of me is missing, so it's really been exciting to fill that hole again. I respect these athletes to no end. They are incredible."
While The Challenge stars may compete by day and party at night, Paulie's new reality includes going to bed as early as 7 p.m. every evening. He's up before the sun rises to begin hours of training. And no, he's not sipping any booze today or in the near future.
Although Paulie has had a front-row seat to some of MTV's most grueling challenges, training to become an Olympian is a whole other ball game.
"You can't even compare the two. Maybe, if we're talking about War of the Worlds or War of the Worlds 2 when there were some savages out there, you might be able to draw comparisons to sports and reality TV," he joked. "The competition the past couple of seasons has been weak sauce so I'm really looking forward to achieving a dream of mine, which is this."
While his main goal remains competing at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, Paulie is open to returning to The Challenge and fighting for another championship prize. "I'd love to come back to roll some heads," he teased. "I'd love to come back to create some chaos."
Until then, Paulie wants to make his girlfriend Cara Maria Sorbello proud as he trains away from home in New York. "She makes sure my mind is in the right place," Paulie gushed. "She always says, 'Keep your eyes on the prize.' I can't thank her enough for how supportive she has been."
And while some may be quick to underestimate a reality star's chances at going for gold, Paulie has a message.
"There's always going to be critics," he shared. "There are a lot of people who are afraid to chase their dreams, to go all in on something. I just want to put that mentality out there that if you stay committed and you put your mind to something, win or lose or draw, you're putting yourself out there more than 97 percent of the population."
Paulie continued, "People want to stay in their comfort zone and don't want to go out. I'm okay with whatever the outcome is with this because I know the amount of time I put in for training. See if you can appreciate the amount of investment I put into this."