It’s the phrase of the week: Triple Axel. Well, at least for anyone interested in competitive figure skating. The triple Axel is the technically challenging jump which requires three-and-a-half rotations in the air. Few have done it in competition, but it’s worth the attempt because the base scoring value of a triple Axel is 8.5 points. A double Axel is worth only 3.3 points.
Mirai Nagasu made headlines in Pyeongchang this week by becoming the first American skater to land a triple Axel in Olympic competition, which helped the U.S. win the team figure skating bronze medal. Last September, she became only the third American woman to ever do it in any competition. Tonya Harding and Kimmie Meissner are the others. Here’s why it’s so impressive: