Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

Haley Graham

Who? Yeah, that’s what I was hoping you’d ask. Haley Graham, super-pumped female gymnast who blows away the competition with genius tricks and phenomenal backbone. Keeping it real, she and her crew take no prisoners. Today, she’s burning treads on Women Who Wow Wednesday.

Haley Graham
Haley Graham

You say you haven’t seen Stick It? There’s no excuse. Get it. The girls in the film are those who zombies would fear. They wouldn’t even need shotguns. All they’d need is a pair of leos to bust some bones. With gymnastics described more as a car race, you’ll love the lingo:

Burt Vickerman: You’re popping your clutch, losing traction.
Haley Graham: I’m not popping [censored]
Burt Vickerman: Are you sure?
Haley Graham: I’m so sure I’m practically deodorant.

Haley Graham (played by Canadian actress Missy Peregrym) gets caught busting up a new model home with her bike. The judge gives her a choice: boot camp or VGA. No way is she goin’ to VGA. Boot camp. The judge begs to differ. VGA it is.

Missy Peregrym as Haley Graham
Missy Peregrym as Haley Graham

VGA—The Vickerman Gymnastics Academy—notorious for turning little girls into elite gymnasts at the cost of injuries. What did Haley get herself into? There are over 2000 navy seals in the U.S. There are only 200 elite gymnasts. The price? Six-hour days training tricks that could kill you.

Haley’s philosophy is simple: “If you’re gonna eat mat, you eat mat hard.” And why not? If you’re going to do something, you do it to win. No half-hearted attempts. No one remembers second best. But Vickerman (Jeff Bridges), coach extraordinaire, doesn’t want Haley eatin’ mat. He asks, “Are you gonna learn to control your tricks or do we need to have an ambulance on call?” As if Haley would respond to a rational argument, “Call ‘em up.”

And what does she think of her training with Vickerman?

Gymnastics tells you no. All day long. It mocks you over and over again. Telling you you’re an idiot. That you’re crazy. If you like running full-speed towards a stationary object, vault’s for you. If you like pealing pieces of skin the size of quarters off your hands, bars is for you. If you like falling, then gymnastics is the sport for you! You get to fall on your face. Your ass. Your back. Your knees. And your pride! It’s a good thing I didn’t like falling… I LOVED IT!


Her fire for perseverance and thunder for winning infects the entire team with wild results. Pretty soon, the other girls are popping their clutch.


Yet Haley’s not all about Haley. When one of her teammates gets trashed by the judges ‘cause her bra strap is showing, Haley’s defiance proves incendiary with the other gymnasts. Screaming full speed toward the vault, she stops short of busting her trick, pops on the apparatus, exposes her bra straps, and purposely scratches on her attempt.

Burt Vickerman: Wait. Next time you should stick your tongue out too.
Haley Graham: I would, but my coach likes it when I control my tricks.

Haley’s move gives the gold to her teammate since all the other gymnasts scratched on all their vault attempts as well.

The VGA Team
The VGA Team

That’s what Haley’s all about, not to prove she’s the best, but sticking it so the team would be the true winner in the end.


Have you ever sacrificed something you wanted for the good of someone or something else?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

16 thoughts on “Haley Graham

  1. For some reason, I always thought this was a cheerleading movie. Now that I know it’s gymnastics, it’s suddenly risen up the ranks on my To Watch List. Thanks for the rec!

  2. I _love_ this movie! Brilliantly done, fun, strong female characters, not gooshy but has heart. Haley is a real punk chick. No poseur:) Hardcore courage.

  3. Can’t believe I’ve never seen this. Jeeze, do I live under a rock or something? I always wanted to be a gymnast when I was little. They are amazing!

  4. I have actually seen this movie multiple times…it’s on cable occasionally. It is surprisingly fun. I’m no gymnast, but I thought the girls were pretty convincing. And I love that Haley’s floor routine is to the opening of a Fall Out Boy song.

  5. awesome post! so happy you put this movie into perspective for those who are “fooled by the leotards.” 🙂 I did gymnastics for 15 years and can honestly say that mostly everything in this movie is completely TRUE. the rules are insane and perfection doesn’t exist in this sport.

  6. She is definitely the best character in the movie and I like how stubborn she is and when she does something she makes sure that it’s her way of doing it. It’s extremely fun to watch and I love the “Gymnastics tells you no” quote. It kind of summarizes her whole character.

    1. I’ve watched it a few years back a couple of times and just recently watched it twice, back-to-back. It really is a fun ride! And it contains one of my favorite Blink 182 songs during the vault!

  7. I totally want to see this movie now too. I loved the vault. It’s not safe to wear a necklace on a vault 😉

  8. Why haven’t I watched this??? Great post! I think this came out amidst a barrage of spunky chick dance movies and cheerleader films, sounds like Stick It deserved more attention than it received.

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