Everyone Is Going Nuts Over This Olympian’s Triple Axel, And Here’s Why

On February 11, 2018, Mirai Nagasu became the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics, and the only other American girl to do so in competition.

The axel hop is considered the most technically difficult jump in single figure skating, inducing the triple axel especially difficult to perform. When Nagasu pulled it off beautifully during the 2018 Olympic Games, she made history, prompting fans to holler in acclamation and inspiring countless news outlets to sing the praises of her unbelievable achievement.

Watch as Nagasu nails the triple axel and becomes a skating legend.

So why is it such a huge accomplishment? As Vox explains, increased understanding of physics is crucial to successful executings. Skaters have to generate enough horizontal and rotational velocity with their bodies on the ice during takeoff, or else they won’t be allowed to spin fast enough for three turns.

The triple axel jump length is shorter than the double axel length because skaters have to save that energy for snapping into faster rotations.

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Skaters likewise require a lot of upper torso strength to keep their arms tucked in to stop from slowing down in the spin.

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