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Why the triple axel is such a big deal
   Vox
  Published: 3 months ago

3,588,529 Views

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: http://www.espn.com/olympics/news/story?id=1967992

Want to see Tonya' Harding's routine? You can find one version here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdC5G7CDvbI

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.

Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com.

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Comments Directly on YouTube

6 days ago
1:22 I’m confused


6 days ago
I can do a triple visit to the fridge.


6 days ago
can they just say that unlike other triples, triple axel is not actually a triple, but a 3.5 rotations jump.


1 week ago
What?


2 weeks ago
quad are like 10times harder


2 weeks ago
It was an epic moment. I still remember it to this day and can feel the emotions of watching her make that jump.


2 weeks ago
show me triple axel please


2 weeks ago
where the triple axel


2 weeks ago
Your stupid video just doesn't let me see anything of the diagram, what are you? some type of silly magazine?


2 weeks ago


2 weeks ago
The expression she makes when she realizes she will be able to fully complete the jump without falling is pure gold.


2 weeks ago
If you are going to do a feature on ladies performing the triple axel, Midori Ito comes first. Not only as the 1st woman to complete the triple axel in world competition, but also the 1st woman to complete the triple axel at the Olympics. Her triple axels are always rated the best. Tonya only learned to do the triple axel because she saw Midori do it at the NHK competition in Japan in 1990. If you want to see a perfect triple axel watch Midori's long program skate at the 1990 Worlds at Halifax. In all 3 broadcasts of the competition, U.S., Canada and U.K. the commentators said it was the most incredible jump ever performed in world competition by a female competitor. Toller Cranston, the famous Canadian figure skater who was doing the Canadian broadcast said it was probably the best triple axel done at the competition including the men.


2 weeks ago
Why was this video edited like someone with epilepsy wanted to hurt themselves


2 weeks ago
The Asian chick is very quirky.


3 weeks ago
Yeah.. I have no idea what any of this but I just finished the movie I, Tonya and figured I would check out her famous Triple-Axel


3 weeks ago
Kimmie Meissner is shook by Vox's error.


4 weeks ago
the background totally completes this video,so pleasing


4 weeks ago
Sponsord by barbie


4 weeks ago
it's like you got to be on the right side of the tracks! Yay for Tonya technical only or not, it was a "historical" accomplishment!


4 weeks ago
Girls are landing quad lutzes, those are harder.


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