Former pole vaulter turned stuntwoman Jessie Graff made history Monday night, becoming the first woman ever to complete Stage 1 in the national finals of NBC's American Ninja Warrior.
The 32-year-old Graff, who vaulted for Urbana High School in Ijamsville, Md. and at the University of Nebraska, conquered the vaunted course in New Orleans, which included should-be-impossible obstacles such as the Log Grip, Propeller Bar, Jumping Spider and Warped Wall.
Graff is one of eight athletes to complete the course and currently holds the fourth-fastest time among that group.
"I always knew I could do it, but I never let myself fully believe it would happen until I saw it happening," Graff told NBC affiliate WTHR.
Graff, who has performed stunts on Super Girl, Wonder Woman, Heroes and many other TV shows and movies, burst onto the national scene earlier this year when she became the first woman to scale the show's new, 14.5-foot Warped Wall during a Los Angeles qualifier. She repeated that feat during the Los Angeles finals to advance to the national finals.
Graff , who is crushing it in her third and fourth appearances on American Ninja Warrior -- she appeared in 2013 and 2015 but missed the 2014 season with a torn ACL -- has a thing for superheroines. She wore a Wonder Woman outfit during the Los Angeles city qualifier and a Green Lantern outfit in her latest conquest.
Graf got her start in sports as a gymnast at age 6, switched to track and field and pole vaulting as she grew closer to her current 5-foot-8 frame. Coming out of Urbana, she accepted a scholarship to Georgia Tech before transferring to Nebraska. In 2004, she finished second at the Big 12 Indoor Championships, clearing 13-1.5.
She now hopes to empower woman by breaking through the glass ceiling on American Ninja Warrior.
"I hope it will show women that feminine is strong -- that we can frequently do more than people think we can -- sometimes even more than we believe ourselves if we're willing to work for it," Graff, who also has a black belt in taekwondo and a black sash in Kung Fu, said in an interview with People.
"I hope it will show women that feminine is strong -- that we can frequently do more than people think we can -- sometimes even more than we believe ourselves if we're willing to work for it. We may have to train smarter and harder, but if we achieve greater focus, technique, and strategy, we can beat the guys.
"I know I'm not the strongest or the fastest," she continued, "There are plenty of women who can do what I did, but I'm honored and grateful to have been the first -- to get to be a part of this huge movement in which we challenge our perceptions of what's possible."
To make your day, below is a Lego stop-motion video of her performance Monday night: