CALABASAS, Calif. -- We dont allow shoes on the gym floor, says Jessie Graff as she opens the front door to her house in Calabasas, California, -- a city in the San Fernando Valley, just northwest of Los Angeles.In any other home, the door would lead into a standard living room, but in Graffs house, visitors enter onto a soft-spring floor, the texture of which is somewhere between memory foam and that of a gymnastics studio. Theres a climbing wall on the left, and cylinders, hooked into carabineers, hanging from the 15-foot ceiling. In the middle of the room stands a pillar with a vertical-jump pegboard; mirrors line the right wall, and in the back is a squat rack that doubles as a ladder up to a loft.Its not an overly large space, but the rooms sky blue walls hold together more than a simple training area -- they prop up a dream, too.Graff, 32, is mostly known for appearances in the American Ninja Warrior and Team Ninja Warrior television shows. But shes also a stunt woman who works regularly on a variety of movies and TV series. She has a black belt in taekwondo, a black sash in Kung Fu and first fell in love with doing flips after convincing her parents to let her train for the circus when she was young. She grew up a gymnast and added pole vaulting in high school, a sport that earned her a scholarship to Georgia Tech.Her career has become staying healthy and in shape -- no easy task considering shes constantly throwing her body through glass, riding motorcycles and jumping on to moving trains. But her focus on fitness has helped her become one of the most accomplished women on American Ninja Warrior, a show where women compete against men on the same obstacle course with the same standards for winning.She was the second woman ever to reach the shows Las Vegas finals outright (without getting chosen through a wild card). She was the second to finish the jumping spider, an obstacle where participants must hold themselves between two suspended walls. And she was the fourth female competitor to run up the warped wall -- a 14-foot vertical that competitors must scale to finish a course.Her motivation is a delicate balance of knowing her best is yet to come, and seeing her opportunities for making history seemingly pass her by. In 2014, a blown knee kept her from competing on the show, and she watched from the sidelines as Kacy Catanzaro, Meagan Martin and Michelle Warnky attained all the firsts she was chasing. There arent many firsts left for Graff to reach, but as she rehabbed her knee, she decided to make American Ninja Warrior her mission.Graffs fingers gently coil around a rope dangling from the ceiling in her living-room-turned-gym. The rope runs through a pulley, with one end attached to a carabineer. This is where I measure my vertical jump, she says, putting her coffee cup down on the stairs. She takes one step and explodes up the rope, grabbing it and jerking down. She lands with barely a thud, stretches her arm to the ceiling and reads the marker underneath the carabineer. Twenty-nine inches. Thats not bad, considering I havent warmed up. She grabs her cup and takes a sip. My record is 29 and a half, but I really want 30 inches.She tracks all her stats on a board sitting in the corner -- which also records the feats of her friends; everyone from circus performers, to other ninjas, to stunt people have tested themselves on her many obstacles. The people she shares her time with are as varied as her many interests, pastimes and professions.Graff is motivated by numbers; beating a standard she already set for herself gives her something to constantly be working toward. And she works out -- a lot. In fact, she doesnt really ever stop moving. This house is becoming more of a home because now I have things to play on.Play is a word she uses often. For Graff, none of her work or her surroundings is out of the ordinary or difficult. Its all fun, and shes all smiles. Unless she has to be at set, she wakes up whenever she wants and meets up with a few folks throughout the day to train (a word she uses broadly). Theres no regimented schedule; she does what interests her at the time. Nothing more, nothing less.Despite her constant motion, she claims she was actually a pretty quiet kid. It wasnt until she started circus gymnastics that she started to come out of her shell.My strategy for making friends as a kid was to do the coolest tricks on the playground. Thats how I learned to interact with people, she confessed with a laugh. It hadnt occurred to me to start a conversation. I had no idea how to do that.Of course, this explained why instead of walking to retrieve her jacket from her kicking dummy -- lovingly named Shredder -- Graff dives on the floor, and then walks to the door on her knees. We just met, and she needs a conversation starter.Graff comes from a family of performers. Her father teaches middle school drama classes, and her mother, a dancer and actor, was cast in the original production of Pippin. Graff spent her early years in New York City, before moving to Pennsylvania after her parents divorced, and then to Maryland when her mother remarried. Graff wants to be an actress eventually as well.The draw of the theater and entertainment industries is, in fact, a core reason for her athletic success. When I told my mom I wanted to be an actress, she told me to go to the Olympics because its easier to get into show business that way. That was always the goal, it just didnt work out.Graff picked up pole vaulting in high school after she aged out of gymnastics. She won six Maryland state championships (three indoor and three outdoor), won the 2001 Young Womens AAU Junior Olympic Nationals and placed fifth at the U.S. Junior National Championships in 2002. Her high school competition record held for eight years before being broken in 2010.As one of the top pole vaulters in the country, she accepted a scholarship to Georgia Tech. She wanted to go to the Olympics, but her highest jump was a couple of inches short of enough to qualify. So Graff transferred to Nebraska after a year at Georgia Tech to study theater and chase acting.She decided to move out to Los Angeles after a meeting with her mothers agent -- one that didnt go as planned. Graff accidentally gave the agent a resume that shed made for the circus in high school. She looked at it and was like, What is this? Do you act? You should be a stunt woman. Call this guy. And she shooed me out of her office before I even knew what was going on, Graff says with a laugh.For the next few months, Graff spent her days training and hustling, as she calls it -- driving around the streets of L.A., looking for production crews so she could maneuver herself onto set and find the stunt coordinator to give them a resume. Skirting security was more than implied.It was a lot easier when more movies were actually filmed in L.A., Graff says.Just as essential as being able to put herself out there is knowing where she falls in the stunting landscape. The leading action stars for women are tall and skinny. Im close enough to that demographic to be in high demand, because there are not many tall, skinny women who can do flips. That means Im in a position where its more beneficial for me to be really well-rounded.There are skills that stunt people have to know how to do, like taking falls and reacting to being hit. Graff says shes particularly good at wiping out. Within the stunt world, however, there are certain skills that are more specific, like pole vaulting. You either pole vaulted for 10 years, or you didnt, Graff says.She coaches high school students in her spare time, which is exciting for her. Being there every day is impossible, but she tries to at least get there once a week. I think one of the reasons I still fixate on pole vaulting is that it feels like unfinished business. For someone as hungry as Graff, what ifs linger.Graff moves around her kitchen, making lunch. She grabs greens, Greek yogurt, blueberries and cranberries before throwing the chicken into the oven to bake. After finally sitting down, she groans. I forgot the kale. So she skips out to the garden she keeps, cuts a few leaves, comes back and lays them on the table. It rained, so its already been washed, she says with a toothy grin.Graff has a bit of a sweet tooth. She mixes in the yogurt and berries. I like the yogurt instead of dressing, and the fruit makes it a bit sweet. And that is how I eat more greens.Graffs approach to food is similar to how she approaches her training in general, balancing what she wants with what she knows she needs to do. To make the latter more palatable, Graff sometimes employs tricks to get there. Thinking about food in terms of staying thin and capitulating to the pressures she feels doesnt motivate her to make good decisions. Ive found that certain language helps me stick to good habits more than other language.Graff offers me a low sugar, carbonated drink; she would love for the company to sponsor her. She thinks about endorsements a lot as she grows her social media presence, which stands to increase exponentially if she continues to perform well on American Ninja Warrior.Her focus on endorsements and pretty Instagram photos are a reminder that Jessie Graff is Hollywood through and through. Her athletic talents are important to her, as is her drive to make it. Those parts of her are entwined and often coexist harmoniously, but sometimes they compete heavily as well. She wants to feel well and be physically able to move the way she wants to (Graff doesnt eat ice cream often because it makes her feel sluggish). But she has encountered pangs of pressure we typically associate with Hollywood bodies.I wasnt working upper body stuff except for boxing for a long time, because being skinny is standard priority, she says. With her increased muscle mass, though, has come complications for her day job.Theres a formula for the weight Graff puts on her resume. Taking into account the fact that actresses are not typically muscularly dense (and that they lie by about 10 pounds), Graff is careful about what number she puts down. She currently weighs a little more than 140 pounds, but her resume reads 125 pounds. My actual weight has come to be a very irrelevant number, Graff comments. We just operate on a different scale.Costume fittings are not always Graffs favorite. Shes more muscular than many of the women she doubles -- and she hears comments about it often. It used to trigger thoughts that she needed to run more and focus on trimming the size of her body. Now Im like, whatever. My legs are useful for things, and Im okay with not being the same size as someone who doesnt need to jump as high. If youre going to fire me for it, then I will get another job, and if youre not going to fire me for it, then relax and get me a bigger size pants.The change in attitude is due, in large part, to the number of fans who love her for exactly who she is: an athlete. Ive had such a positive response from Ninja Warrior and the public for getting strong that at this point I am probably losing work for being more muscular. Graff pauses briefly. And, whatever. Its not like Im struggling to get work either, so if I lose a couple jobs but am stronger, healthier, more durable, thats worth it to me.After a long day of working on the set of Supergirl, Graff lays on a bench facing a TV that isnt turned on. Her hands grip a set of adjustable dumbbells before pushing them off her chest. Ninja training does nothing for pushing muscles, she says between reps.Im not where I should be, she says as she finishes her set. Looking at the weight for each dumbbell, she confesses they are for 40 pounds. Thats better than I thought, she laughs. When I first started training upper body after my knee injury, I could only do 15 or 20 pounds.These moments are rare, the workouts where Graff is forced to remain in a fixed place and count her reps. Structured workouts are not her thing, but thats why the bench faces the TV. Even if she doesnt like it, she knows that there are times when she needs to lift and stretch. It is during those moments that she binges whatever TV show shes into at the time. I love Netflix, she says with a smile.A lot of ninjas call me the top female competitor on American Ninja Warrior, but Meagan [Martin], Kacy [Catanzaro] and Michelle [Warnky] have all hit buzzers, and I still havent done it on American Ninja Warrior.This past season, Graff lived up to many expectations. She qualified for her regional final course, and made it all the way to the ninth obstacle (out of 10). She tied Martins record on Stage 1 of American Ninja Warrior finals, stalling at the more difficult version of the warped wall.She wasnt completely healthy when she ran the course, quietly dealing with a hip injury, which kept her from training sprints and lower body explosion in the weeks leading up to the Vegas finals. I dont know what is worse for me, failing the warped wall completely healthy, or admitting that Im fragile enough to break.Im almost scared to admit how much I want it, she says. As quickly as her emotion began to show, its gone. I find that I am the type of person who has such strong tunnel-vision focus, so I think I will improve more by focusing less on it.With the door closed on the Olympics, she is left staring down the warped wall at Stage 1. Getting over that wall means moving on and making history.But its not about history, its about leaving nothing unfinished. Clearance Air Max Black Friday .Y. - Detroit goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has earned NHL first star of the week honours after winning in his first three appearances of the season. Nike Air Max Cyber Monday . As he recorded his 23rd and 24th points of the evening, a segment of the sellout Air Canada Centre crowd expressed their appreciation for the Raptors point guard with a smattering of MVP chants. http://www.airmaxcheapdiscount.com/ . The No. 1-ranked Nadal tweaked his back warming up for the Australian Open final, which he lost almost four weeks ago in a major upset against Stanislas Wawrinka. 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LAS VEGAS -- Luis Scola thought Argentinas time might have passed.The Golden Generation had grown old, the younger players hadnt grown up enough, and when the Argentines went out weakly two years ago in the Basketball World Cup, Scola considered walking away rather than chase more medals.But Argentina is back in the Olympics, and this time Scola isnt just leading the basketball team.Hes leading the whole delegation.The veteran forward will carry the flag in the opening ceremony, capping an amazing turn of events after just two years ago he wasnt sure he wanted to keep playing.I try not to do it because its like, I think, kind of holds me down a little bit, but sometimes I stop for a minute and I look back and its just, wow, said Scola, whose team will face the U.S. on Friday in the Americans first exhibition game.I had the chance to play four Olympics, to play 10 years in the NBA, to carry the flag for my country, win an Olympic gold medal. I mean, different things that happened along those days that I couldnt even dream of those because it would be too wild to dream. So its been quite a journey, its been quite a ride.It began with the national team in 1998 and would peak with Argentinas rise to the top of world basketball. The Argentines won gold in the 2004 Olympics, bronze in 2008, a silver medal in the 2002 worlds, and were ranked No. 1 in the world.Manu Ginobili became the beloved face of those teams while going on to win four NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs. But its been Scola who kept playing in the later years, carrying the national team through qualifying tournaments when Ginobili couldnt or wouldnt play.His career with the national team is just unbelievable, Ginobili said. Hes played every tournament there was to play, and every single one of them at a very high level. So Luis is our guy. Hes our main guy, especially since we dont have a lot of size. We need him in the paint. Hes been the most reliable guy ever.Thats why it became so hard for Scola when the program appeared to have crumbled.The 2014 tournament in Spain was supposed to be the farewell for the group known as the Golden Generation. But Ginobili got hurt andd left Scola to try to carry an undermanned team largely alone.dddddddddddd.He hated that they didnt compete for a title, but even more that he felt the federation wasnt doing enough to further the sport he had done so much to grow in his country. Scola, who wants to play all year every year, even considered ending his own international career.2014 was a very rough year and yes, I thought it could be it, because it was a lot of bad things going on, he said. The federation and the guys running it, it wasnt really working. It was going very, very bad and I just didnt feel like I wanted to play for them anymore, and we were all feeling the same.But a change atop the federation, now led by president Federico Susbielles, energized Scola, as did the return of Ginobili, who thought he would be retired by now. Fellow longtime mainstays Andres Nocioni and Carlos Delfino are also headed to Rio and will be walking into the opening ceremony behind their teammate.It creates better hope, better energy, so I feel refreshed, Scola said.Scola just signed with the Brooklyn Nets after playing last season on the Toronto Raptors best team ever. At 36, he is no longer as effective in the NBA as he remains in international play, but remains a popular and respected teammate.Ive played with Scola five years total. Ive never had a bad day with him. Never, U.S. guard Kyle Lowry of the Raptors said.Scola is realistic about Argentinas chances playing in a difficult group that includes Spain, Lithuania and Brazil -- the team that ousted Argentina two years ago. The Argentines arent good enough to duplicate what they did in Athens, but Scola hopes theyll play just as hard.Obviously what we achieved in 2004 was the highlight of our careers, something that has never been done for our country. It was a great run, Scola said. Obviously right now were in a different stage. Its going to be a little bit more difficult for us right now, but were going to compete. Its going to be fun.---Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney ' ' '