Up until this season, I had never watched NBC's obstacle-course-on-steroids reality show, American Ninja Warrior. On the recommendation of some coworkers, I watched the first episode and immediately I was hooked. Competing in this grown up version of Guts requires jaw-dropping feats of athleticism—and the one I kept coming back to see was Jessie Graff. The 32-year-old Supergirl stuntperson had an incredible season, and here are the best moments (spoilers!).
When she became the first woman up the taller Warped Wall.
In the LA qualifying round, Graff became the first woman to scale the new six-inch-higher 14.5-foot Warped Wall, and hit her first buzzer of the season.
When she qualified for Vegas.
Graff was the first competitor at the LA finals to make it through the Wedge, a tough obstacle where challengers need to jump a bar suspended between two angled panels. Making it through guaranteed her a spot at the national finals in Vegas.
When she became the first woman to complete Stage 1.
Up until this year, no woman had ever advanced past stage 1 at the national finals. Up until this year, she was one of only two women (with Meagan Martin) to complete the fourth event of stage 1, the Jumping Spider. The Warped Wall took her out last year, but this year, she beat it and went on to complete the course with over 12 seconds to spare. Only 16 of the 90 finalists completed the stage 1 course in the 2:20 time allotted, a record low for the show, making her victory all that more amazing. Over 2.3 million people have watched her historic run on YouTube, and I'm surely not the only one who tears up every single time.
...And the first to compete in Stage 2.
Though she was beaten by the Wave Runner, Graff completed two challenging upper body obstacles and set a new bar for women to beat.
She strikes a power pose on the red carpet.
You can be a badass even in a ballgown. Get it, Graff!