Mirai Nagasu's triple axel was a headlining moment of the 2018 Winter Olympics team figure skating event, and it's likely to play a role this week, as the women's individual event gets underway during Tuesday's broadcast.
Nagasu is the first American female figure skater to land a triple axel in Olympic competition. She's only the third American to land one in competition. The first American was Tonya Harding, who landed a triple axel at the 1991 US Championship. In fact, Nagasu is just the third female skater to land a triple axel in Olympic competition. Japan's Midori Ito was the first in 1988, and she was followed by Mao Asada, also from Japan.
The jump is a big deal not just because it's rare, but because it is incredibly difficult. The video above from Vox elaborates on its complexity, but the axel is the only jump where the skater takes off while facing forward. It's a forward edge jump that requires the skater to perform three-and-a-half rotations and land backward on the opposite foot.