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Why the triple axel is such a big deal
  Published: 11 months ago


Triple axels can turn skaters into legends. This is why.

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Note: The video states Mirai Nagasu was the second American to land a triple axel in competition (this was recorded before her Olympic success). In 2005, American Kimmy Miessner completed a triple axel in national competition, though not world competition. You can read about it here:

Want to see Tonya' Harding's routine? You can find one version here:

In this episode of Vox Almanac, Phil Edwards explores the triple axel and why it's such a big deal. The figure skating jump is legendary among ice skaters, from Tonya Harding's 1991 triple axel to modern icon Mirai Nagasu's attempts in competition. It turns out that the physics of the triple axel makes it a uniquely difficult jump — and one worth learning about.

As a forward-edge jump, the mechanics of a triple axel requires technical acumen from skaters while they still try to maintain an artistically interesting performance. Pioneers like Midori Ito and Tonya Harding had to jump, ramp up rotation speed, and then land all while trying to look good. This effort set them apart from competitors like Nancy Kerrigan, but it wasn't easy to land a triple axel in competition.

And that difficulty might be why the triple axel endures as the pinnacle of figure skating performance — and why it's sure to light up the 2018 Winter Olympics as well. is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out

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Comments Directly on YouTube

1 day ago
I love how he uses a barbie to demonstrate XDDDD

3 days ago
Wow that‘s boring

1 week ago
Just show the thing ffs!!!

1 week ago
I can't even do 3 turns when i skate.

1 week ago
1:32 there you go

1 week ago
bc it's hard

1 week ago
I tried that and I died.

2 weeks ago
Triple axel sounds like a finishing move in a fighting game. "Finish him!" triple axels opponent "FATALITY"

2 weeks ago
Why am I here? I don't even skate.

2 weeks ago
I can do a teabagging


2 weeks ago
Watching the movie I' Tonya made me watch this

4 weeks ago
Ya know, I was going to take my first ice skating lesson ((at 14)) tomorrow....*throws skates out the window* I’ve never been good at science. Or is this math? Ya know what...I think I’m just going to stick with watching anime characters doing this stuff.

4 weeks ago
All these people talking about Mari's triple axel but no one is talking about Anna Shcherbakova's quad lutz... hmmm

4 weeks ago
Correction: Kimmie Meisner was the 2nd American to land a Triple Axel in competition.

1 month ago
so ur telling me that a doll flying in the air is apparently a triple axel??😂

1 month ago
How come women are less able to do a triple axel? I’ve seen more men land a triple axel in competition, and only a handful of women have done it

1 month ago
I know less about the triple axel after watching this.

1 month ago
Good thing I watched Yuri On Ice

2 months ago
Triple axle — Historical. It brilliantly is!

2 months ago
Still underwhelming compared to men’s figure skating

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