Tonya Harding and the seven other women skaters who have successfully landed the triple axel
Before Tonya Harding gained world renown for her involvement in one of the most salacious scandals in sports history, she was revered for her incredible talent and athleticism on the ice. A two-time Olympian, Harding won the U.S. championship in 1991 and earned a silver medal at the world championships that same year. She also made history as the second woman to land a triple axel in international competition.
In "I, Tonya," the upcoming biopic of her life, it's clear the triple axel was one of her proudest career achievements.
More than 26 years after Harding's historic jump, you might be surprised to know that she is still one of just eight women in the world to have landed the jump in international competition. It remains one of the most difficult skills in figure skating due to the extra half-rotation in the air because of its forward take off. So who makes up list of skaters to achieve this acclaimed feat? We found out:
Midori Ito (Japan)
The Olympic silver medalist became the first woman to successfully land a triple axel in international competition at the 1988 NHK Trophy. She had reportedly been practicing the move for several years.
Tonya Harding (USA)
The first American woman to land a triple axel, Harding also was the first in the world to notch two triple axels in a single competition. She did that at Skate America in 1991.
Yukari Nakano (Japan)
At the 2002 Skate America, Nakano's first international senior event, she became the first female skater in 10 years to land a triple axel.
Ludmila Nelidina (Russia)
The first European woman to land a triple axel on the world stage, she successfully completed her first one just moments after Nakano did at Skate America in 2002. It was the first competition in which multiple women landed the jump.
Mao Asada (Japan)
A three-time world champion and 2010 Olympic silver medalist, Asada became the first junior competitor to land a triple axel in 2004. Later at the Vancouver Games in 2010, she became the first (and only) female figure skater to land three triple axels in one competition.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva (Russia)
The 2015 world champion, Tuktamysheva not only landed a triple axel at that competition, but she also became the first woman in history to land four triple jumps in a short program (triple axel, triple lutz, triple toe-triple toe combination).
Rika Kihira (Japan)
The seventh woman overall and the second to land the jump in international junior competition, Kihira made her mark in the history books during the 2016 Junior Grand Prix in Slovenia at just 14 years old.
Mirai Nagasu (USA)
After practicing the skill for years and teasing fans with the jump in videos on Instagram, the 2010 Olympian joined Harding as the only American women to land the jump in September of this year at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic.