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Why the triple axel is such a big deal

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

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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. 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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30 Thoughts to “Why the triple axel is such a big deal”

  1. Vox

    It’s * Skate Week * on the Vox channel. Our unofficial celebration of all things ice skating. Keep an eye out for more videos coming this week from your favorite creators. (Hint: we definitely have some more Olympian appearances too). – The Vox team

  2. MrHerzog333

    Tonya Harding should’ve won that award. No question about it; what a scam.

  3. delascroix


  4. SupaEMT134

    She was hot in 1991. I would’ve dated her

  5. Satvik Saha

    I suddenly care a lot less about figure skating

  6. Robert Cohn

    Waaay over edited

  7. Elizabeth Griffee

    *the zambonie is coming it’s gonna be loud*

  8. Braedon Ondos

    yeah but guys can do quadruple axels

  9. ahmed alharthy

    Vox always making topics boring and elaborate, I’m just trying to see a quick NON THOROUGH video that I can actually finish without skipping.

    Just my opinion chill


    How about a video titled “Why Vox supports a terrorist organization called ANTIFA”?

  11. Happy Person

    Yuri on ice

  12. SlappKake

    Tony Flenderson? Is that you?

  13. Derek G

    I just wanted to know what the Triple Axel looked like. Every time you cut right before it showed the trick, I was about ready to kill someone!! For shit’s sake, that was annoying.

  14. Davis Malcolm

    1:32 ….ffs

  15. tori2dles

    Kind of makes the Kerrigan incident all the more sad. Why, Tonya, why? (It’s rhetorical. I know why.)

  16. César Tejeda Casilla

    I see Phil, I like the video.

  17. Matt T

    Wow. Wish I knew what a triple axle is still.

  18. Nate

    I’m sorry but it is not that important

  19. i dont know a jinyoung

    We were talking about this is Social Studies!

  20. Gamer_ 14j

    Dislike why. Stop the skip or go to other scene. This why cable TV is going away.

  21. KiDreams SCO

    Im just as confused as before. If not more.

  22. NthMetal

    i like how this video barely ever shows full uninterupted footage of someone actually doing a triple axel

  23. RuttedRumble3

    = because it’s hard

  24. Chicken nuggets dipped in mayonnaise

    I only know all this ice skating stuff by yuri on ice

  25. Muzik

    Wait, Axel is my name!

  26. Diego Carreno

    I really like the idea behind this video but the execution was below expectations

  27. tiffanys221122

    This video has great material, but a headache of a delivery. You don’t need all the flashes to get the point across.

  28. SheronaGonzalez 679

    I was like “wait… this IS on trending…right? *looks at trending* *sighs* good”

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