Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Triple Axel: Why aren't female figure skaters required to do them?

In Figure Skating, only the men are required to do triple Axel jumps. Why? Due to their difficulty and the amount of physical strength required to complete an extra half a rotation in the air (it's really 3.5 turns), only 6 women have been able to do them successfully in competition. Mao Asada is the only female skater who even attempted one in the Olympic games this year. The triple Axel is only less difficult than a quad lutz, which is also a jump that only (some of) the men do (correction: Only one man has landed the quad lutz in competition: Brandon Mroz (USA). Other types of quad jumps are more commonly attempted). Here's a handy chart that lists all of the different jumps and their difficulty levels: Table of Jumps - Figure Skater's Website

Mao Asada of Japan

Some people, and even I, have said women shouldn't bother trying the triple Axel and risk falling and missing out on a Gold medal, but where would Women's figure skating be today if not for the women who pushed themselves beyond expectations and went where no woman had gone before?