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Monday, August 06, 2007

What is an Axel?

The Axel is a jump first performed by Axel Paulsen in 1882. This is the only type of jump with a forward take-off. In figure skating all jumps land backwards (nobody wants to fall on their faces!), and the forward take-off means that a "single" Axel is really 1-1/2 revolutions in the air, a double Axel 2-1/2 revs, a triple Axel 3-1/2 revs, etc.

Here's my single Axel as of 2005:

The additional 1/2 revolution sounds more innocent that it really is! Not just that, the forward take-off can be tricky. Skaters often take longer to learn the single Axel than most other single jumps, some even claiming double jumps before "getting" the Axel. In an earlier post, I had put together a series of videos of my "Axel Progression"!

Various other interesting facts about the Axel jump are captured in Wikipedia!

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