Why the triple axel is such a big deal

Triple axels can turn skaters into legends. This is why.
Want to see Tonya' Harding's routine? You can find one version here:

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

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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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  • QuantumBraced

    An exoskeleton would help with this.

  • alphavideochannel

    I can do a triple klutz :)

  • Dillpickle 97

    Why couldn't you just show the triple axle at normal speed.

  • leatherwings007

    The triple axel was performed the same year Street Fighter II and the "Tatsumaki Senpuukyaku" spinning kick came out... Coincidence? I THINK NOT

  • Melissa0774

    Whose idea was it to use a Barbie doll?

  • darius jones

    Im going to be unstoppable next time I play trivial pursuit after binge watching vox.

  • Achim Titus

    just met le see it....and the explain...

  • E —

    Why is there always so much more focus on Americans? Tonya Harding was the first American woman to do a triple axel, but she was not the first woman in the world. Midori Ito was, but Tonya always seems to get mentioned a lot more when the triple axel is brought up. It's ridiculous.

  • Pixelchu

    Nah, not the Triple Axel...Quadruple Axel is de wae:Perfected by Victor Nikiforov.

  • Rock Matt

    Top 10 anime super powers

  • Niroki Itisme

    Just the fact that Tonya used he Batman soundtrack is so epic. Better than the princess piano music... I once did a rhythmic gymnastics routine on a Nine Inch Nails song. Gotta do something different sometimes.

  • rabber borron

    This is nothing, I've done a quadruple axel.

  • Melissa0774

    I wonder how many female skaters can do a triple axle reliably well when using a jump harness?

  • Vanta Black

    One word to define it : Physics

  • Vila Petrovic

    i cannot believe you are number 3 on trending wow

  • Trinity Fusion

    Reminds me of a guy called Garen...

  • ItzDaredevilCC

    This was an "ice" video.

  • Supernaturlisch

    I'm loving the figure skating focus! If people don't know how talented and powerful figure skaters are, they should now!

  • Ahmed Nauman Tariq

    Now I want to watch I, Tonya. 🤩

  • Gina


  • Kohana Antonio

    why is it such a big? dude i cant even jump while skating

  • Jason Garcia

    The Barbie thing was a lil weird too me, but thumbs 👍🏽 to the video. FYI I’m high asf legal 🇺🇸

  • Adam Xan

    Surya Bonaly's Backflip is far more impressive

  • Matthew Pham

    I literally learned all of this after watching I, Tonya hehe

  • Jayyy Zeee

    Tanya Harding is remembered for attacking her competitor, but damn, she nailed that insanely hard jump!

  • Panamanian Thing Scene

    Yeah the move Bow Wow tried to do on the movie Roll Bounce😂😂

  • ThatonePusheenLover

    Sometimes a I think not that hard.. trys to do a triple axle wait I cant even glide on ice.....

  • Trap Soul

    You guys should stick to this context instead of all the propaganda and lies you spread about politics it's media outlets like Vox that make people who already hated Trump force us to defend him.

  • Ocean

    "Tonya Harding, my star"

  • Yvonne Mongare

    Where my Minnesotans at?!? Leave a like

  • Groovy Games

    What about the quad axel?

  • Danish Irfan

    How about a Surya Bonaly (flip) video next?

  • Sofia Single

    🔴🔴🔴 SĒҳУ GÍ®Ľš ► [ https://goo.gl/erBrZ6 ] ◄ SĒҳУ GÍ®Ľš 🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴 SĒҳУ GÍ®Ľš ► [ https://goo.gl/erBrZ6 ] ◄ SĒҳУ GÍ®Ľš 🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴🔴 SĒҳУ GÍ®Ľš ► [ https://goo.gl/erBrZ6 ] ◄ SĒҳУ GÍ®Ľš 🔴🔴🔴.

  • Jaeboy

    Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades

  • MingforPM

    Mirai Nagasu makes Asian-Americans proud! I'm proud to be an Asian Youtuber!!!

  • elena mation

    Ok but have you seen Yuzuru Hanyu's triple axel tho

  • You Learned Something today

    Physics into poetry 🎯👏

  • Nathaly Alvarez

    Hey Vox, you should add that this is specifically for ladies single skating. Most of men skaters can land triple axels.

  • Sid's BARBER


  • The Truthful Channel

    Men do triple axels all the time and no one cares. It's only a big deal if you are sexist.

  • mycah panes

    skating videos are so satisfying to watch

  • Official house

    I don't know why I watch this.... Even though I don't want.... With internet I thought I chose what I want ... But everything changed

  • HotGamerChica

    If you are reading this just know you are loved because I love you and you mean something to everyone including me❤️

  • Julian Fricker

    Next week on Vox, why zambonis are so loud

  • Crude Wan

    This is so easy bruh. I do this barefoot on ice.

  • Hill walker

    you don't turn physics into poetry, physics is poetry... normies trying to talk science

  • Xaro Xhoan Daxos

    And male skaters do it all the time. Even amatuer male skaters perform the triple axel in competition. It is so common for men that no one even thinks it's all that special for a man to do a triple axel. It's expected of them. But there's no biological difference between men and women, right? It must be sexism.

  • Chloe Duval

    You gotta spin like a bayblade LET IT RIP

  • Prod. David Luis

    you should do a vid on the 900 with tony hawk

  • spjunkies

    Meh, I can do a Quadruple Axel. Get on my level!!!

  • Nuclear Cashew

    Triple axel sounds like some sort of ultimate move done by the villain of an anime to increase their agility, speed and power.Villain: "Triple... AXEL!"EXPLOSIONS EVERYWHERE WHILE MATTER IS SUCKED TOWARDS THE CENTRE

  • Kayla B

    I can’t even ice skate....

  • Mark Teyken

    Its almost impossible to do 3 spins.Katarina: Hold my beer.

  • Synchrocyclotron


  • Parwaj Somal

    Batman is bruce wayne waaaahahhht

  • Isha Piang

    Aaaaa! Goosebumps! I love Tonya and I LOOOVE Mirai. This video is everything

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