STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

The insanely difficult feat of the triple axel, broken down

She's been training this dangerous jump for years. And finally, under the bask of Olympic lights,...

Posted: Feb 12, 2018 7:13 PM
Updated: Feb 12, 2018 7:13 PM

She's been training this dangerous jump for years. And finally, under the bask of Olympic lights, Mirai Nagasu did something no other American woman has ever done at the Olympics:

She landed a triple axel.

Why this is so massively impressive:

The axel jump was first invented in 1882 - by a guy named Axel Paulsen. But he only did a single axel. It took more than 90 years for the first man to land a triple axel.

And it wasn't until 1991 that the first American woman landed a triple axel. That was Tonya Harding at the 1991 US championships.

At the Olympic level, Nagasu is only the third woman -- and the first American woman -- to successfully complete the triple axel; the other two are Japanese skaters Midori Ito and Mao Asada.

Why the triple axel is so rare to pull off:

  • You're racing across the ice at full speed and suddenly you skid off the edge of one blade. Your skate goes perpendicular, which forces you to stop moving forward. All that momentum hurls you up into the air instead of across the ice.

  • While hanging midair, you spin your body around 3 1/2 rotations in less than a second - estimated by some university studies to be more than 300 revolutions per minute.

  • Finally, you land on the foot that you didn't use for the takeoff. And you come down with immense force -- more than four times your body weight. So a 125-pound skater like Nagasu would feel the impact of more than 500 pounds of force on a 1/4-inch thin blade.

What makes it so difficult:

  1. You have to take off forward, with your blade skidding sideways, and land skating backward.
  2. If you slip, you could seriously wipe out. Common injuries are stress fractures, broken bones and hip and knee damage -- some of which could easily ruin careers.
  3. Proper air position is critical to completing all 3 1/2 revolutions.

OK, so what's the next big figure skating move?

The quadruple axel - the only quad jump that's never been done in competition. That's 4 1/2 rotations.

READ: These Olympic figure skaters will blow your mind

West Lafayette
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 38°
Kokomo
Broken Clouds
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 45°
Rensselaer
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 31°
Fowler
Overcast
37° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Williamsport
Overcast
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 33°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
40° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 40°
Frankfort
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 45°
Delphi
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 38°
Monticello
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 39°
Logansport
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 39°
More rainfall ahead.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 162607

Reported Deaths: 4130
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25871792
Lake14222358
St. Joseph9532166
Elkhart9156137
Allen8552230
Hamilton6335114
Vanderburgh609062
Tippecanoe391815
Porter341650
Hendricks3367134
Monroe333238
Johnson3239130
Delaware307675
Clark303163
Vigo272440
Madison248096
LaPorte236161
Cass228523
Warrick201565
Kosciusko198427
Floyd185868
Howard168466
Bartholomew146958
Dubois145526
Marshall145126
Wayne137931
Henry131330
Grant131039
Boone128050
Hancock123144
Noble121935
Jackson118517
Dearborn101728
Morgan98940
Lawrence94737
Gibson92812
Daviess91334
Clinton90316
Shelby89431
LaGrange82815
Knox81310
Harrison79924
Posey7667
Putnam76616
DeKalb75811
Fayette73918
Jasper6655
Miami6615
Steuben6578
Montgomery62022
White61016
Greene57338
Scott54513
Decatur52539
Adams5237
Whitley4796
Ripley4748
Clay4587
Sullivan45514
Wells44911
Wabash4389
Starke4378
Huntington4365
Orange42125
Spencer4126
Washington3863
Franklin38125
Randolph38110
Jennings37913
Fulton3764
Perry36114
Jefferson3525
Pike34318
Carroll33813
Jay3316
Fountain3193
Tipton28223
Vermillion2681
Parke2504
Newton23611
Blackford2344
Rush2304
Owen2111
Martin2040
Pulaski1753
Crawford1631
Brown1463
Ohio1337
Union1140
Benton1100
Switzerland970
Warren891
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events