Stuntwoman Jessie Graff became the first female American Ninja Warrior ever to complete Stage I at the national finals.


Graff, 32, completed a top-speed qualifying run in Los Angeles earlier this year, and on Monday became the first woman ever to complete a Stage I run in the national finals, which take place in Las Vegas. She successfully completed the Log Grip, Propeller Bar, Jumping Spider, and Warped Wall obstacles, and did so with 12 seconds to spare. 

Graff’s signature dress is various superhero costumes, this time crushing the competition in a Green Lantern outfit. This is quite fitting given that she has done stunts on the CBS and CW series Supergirl.

Graff began circus classes at age 6 and was catching the other kids on the trapeze when she was 12. She then did competitive gymnastics for six years, pole vaulted all through high school and college, and then began earning black belts in Taekwondo and Kung Fu. Since becoming a stuntwoman, she does “anything on rooftops, sides of buildings or bridges, dramatic wipeouts.” Her extremely athletic background transformed her into the perfect American Ninja Warrior competitor, finishing the course in second overall at her qualifying round.

“My first year doing Ninja Warrior, I didn’t really know what it was about,” Graff starts. “After that, when so many people were like, ‘I didn’t know women could do that,’ I thought, ‘Then, we better show you,”

“As far as being the first woman to do it, there are more women than ever who are fully capable of doing what I did, and even more,” Graff told espnW. “I’m grateful that it came together for me on the right night, and looking forward to seeing more women hit that buzzer in the future.

Graff admits she’s not completely happy with her history-making performance Monday. “I didn’t do it efficiently,” says Graff of the Warped Wall. “I caught the wall by one hand, but it was close.” Follow Graff’s incredible journey on NBC on Stage 2 of the national finals, which air Sept. 12.

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