Staff Writer 750/102.9 The Game
Photo via Yahoo.com
Completing an American Ninja Warrior course of any kind is an impressive enough athletic feat, but finishing stage 1 of Mt. Midoriyama is even more impressive. It is the ultimate test of athletic and mental ability put on a timer and the ratio of failures to successes is disproportionately in favor of the negative. Jessie Graff, a professional stunt woman, challenged that narrative when she took to the course on Monday’s episode and succeeded while making some history in the process.
Of the 45 competitors to run on Monday’s first showing of the national finals, only 8 were able to finish the course. The more significant number getting attention from the media is the number 1. Graff became the first woman to complete stage 1 of the national finals with an amazing run that you can see in the video above. The University of Nebraska graduate built on the successes of ANW greats like Kacy Catanzaro, Meagan Martin, and Michelle Warnky to achieve yet another milestone for women on the show. The achievements of these women led to a 40% increase in female applications this season for ANW and it seems only a matter of time before a woman joins Geoff Britten and Isaac Caldiero as the only competitors to complete all 4 stages of Mt. Midoriyama.
Graff’s run is truly remarkable regardless of gender as she showed incredible control, poise (We all know poise counts), and composure on a very fluid run. She completed the course with 12 seconds remaining and the look of confidence on her face as she reached the Flying Squirrel will go down as one of the greatest images in the history of the show. True greats are rarely ever happy with their performances and Graff is no exception citing her scaling the warped wall with one hand as a flaw she needs to address. That’s the kind of perfectionist logic that’s allowed Graff to claim her place among other American Ninja Warrior greats to blaze a path through Mt. Midoriyama. Brent Steffensen was the first American to make it past the Cliff Hanger in stage 3; Meagan Martin was the first to complete the jumping spider; Kacy Catanzaro was the first woman to complete a city finals course; Geoff Britten was the first American Ninja Warrior; and now Jessie Graff is the first woman to complete stage 1.
Mt. Midoriyama cares not for the petty differences of race, gender, or sexual orientation and Jessie Graff’s historical run shows that greatness can be achieved when people ignore those stereotypes as well.
Watch Jessie Graff continue her incredible march up Mt. Midoriyama in Stage 2 on NBC.
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