Why the triple axel is such a big deal

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.

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  • Sup ItzKittie_

    Freakin a single Axel kills me. I look up to ppl who can do a triple axel.

  • Alisha L

    It’s not “The Target Center.” It’s just “Target Center.” At least this was better than Vox’s stupid gun control videos and lecturing to us like we are children.

  • Lisa Mari Arellanes

    A triple axel is no longer a big deal if you have to unfairly, and brutally, try to take down your opponent. I'm sorry it is very hard to stomach anything about Tonya at this point. Full of lies and trying to make herself out to be innocent! It is pathetic so much attention is given to her. If she overheard a conversation of people taking down her opponent........and yet, continued on with that knowledge.....my opinion,....incredibly guilty. That triple axel is very hard to even view! A Hollywood movie on how innocent she is, is pathetic!

  • Queen Mao Asada

    <cough> Kimmie Meisner <cough>

  • Rachel Wharton

    That editing drove me bonkers 😒 The whole time I was trying to understand the move so I could appreciate it and they would start to show the move and I would think, "Ah yes, here it is," and then they WOULD CUT AWAY. Then I was just annoyed with whatever they would show or say afterwards. Not even sure how many times that exact thought sequence happened during the whole thing. I'm definitely not watching again to count.

  • saturnfan32x

    I found the production of this clip infuriating. . . . and I don't know why.

  • Pepins Spot

    This poor woman. Her life was truly awful. That movie should've come out immediately after the Olympics. I really hope she is happy now, she deserves it.

  • Aymaan .T

    Guys I need to know something. In the movie or in real life, why did everyone know(in the competition) that Tonya was going to attempt the Triple Axel? Why did everyone know she was gonna do it?

  • The Last Mohikan

    Poor Tonya, fooking court....

  • Emma G

    Who else is trying to do an axel? Evil evil axel

  • fb1993

    1:36 to speed all those things we don't care about 🌝

  • 時岡さなえ

    Oh is that machine called zamboni? Never heard of it called that before

  • NS

    Would have liked to hear from Tonya and Midori Ito.

  • Casey Miller

    It's way easier than The "Iron Lotus"! Mad props to Jimmy McElroy and Chaz Michael Michaels for sticking it in competition back in '07!

  • Anthony Yannuzzi

    Tonya Harding turned it and deserves more credit.

  • Helen Lim

    A video of 3A without any mention of mao asada?? This is unacceptable

  • Park Jimin is my light

    You didn't land this edit.

  • alicenlucy

    Who edited this? It's so good

  • Taylor Jean

    0:21 gymnopedie omg ❤️❤️

  • anindita sarkar

    Tanya is far better than her rival. I don't think she hurt her.

  • Alexandrina de Phénix-Dauphinais

    Consider the following: Quadruple axle

  • Nc Demon

    In my opinion Victor is a batter ice skater than Tanya...

  • Dazie Diamond

    I'm just gonna go with singing it's easier

  • Alejandro Gil Hernandez

    I need the soundtrack used in this video, please.

  • kittie pride

    I disliked because of that dumb ending

  • Ivan Najakov

    Simple, If she has a nice butt, the centrifugal force causes her skirt to rise, the beauty of this act is added to the beauty of what is usually hidden beneath her skirt.Is this magic or what?

  • Electro Fan

    Lol now she is on world's dumbest. 😂. Still a cool chick though.

  • Rajiv Jadhav

    Me: it's 3 am i should sleep (know nothing about figure skating)Brain: watch Why the triple axel is such a big deal

  • AvatarTTfan

    ok but triple axel is pretty normal in male ice skating so, is it a womans thing that its more difficult because of size?

  • GOD CREATES

    I couldn't skate, even if I were riding on Tonya's back. Is there anything Tonya Harding cannot do? Seriously, I am so amazed by her. All her life, she has overcome every problem/ obstacle like the true Champion she is. Not WAS ... IS. She is an amazing woman. Don't bother replying with an insult, I see the truth. And if you will look at this woman's life with new glasses, you will see the truth as well. If you look up the words, "fortitude, amazing, phenomenal, hero and champion, you will recognize these traits in Tonya Harding. God loves you Tonya, you are worthy.

  • brih Mendiola

    If you think about it, Tonya Harding was a great skater not just because she landed a Triple Axel, but what she went through to land it.

  • maya q

    It took 3:15 to show the complete triple axel, before that just babbling details about what wasn’t yet shown, making it hard to get, and that’s the typical YouTube need for attention syndrome

  • Dan Monson

    Kimmie Meissner, also, landed a triple axel in competition. So, that makes 3 American women, not 2, who have landed this jump.

  • Fanny Moring

    Why does this look like a serious video edited by a shitposter

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