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#pounditWednesday, December 7, 2022

Video: 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva lands extremely rare triple axel

Kamila Valieva skating

Kamila Valieva has only been alive for the last four Winter Olympics, but she is already making history at them.

The 15-year-old Russian figure skater dazzled in her Olympic debut on Sunday, earning the top short-program score in the team final. Valieva posted a score of 90.18 points, boosted in part by one incredible move. She landed a triple axel, becoming just the fourth woman ever to do so at the Winter Olympics. Take a look (at the 0:34 second mark)

Valieva joins Midori Ito (1992), Mao Asada (2010), and Mirai Nagasu (2018) as the only women in history to land the triple axel in Olympic competition. By definition, a triple axel is a forward takeoff followed by three-and-a-half rotations in the air then a backward landing. It is known as one of the most difficult jumps in figure skating.

Though she won’t turn 16 until April, Valieva is already establishing herself as a giant of figure skating. She entered the Beijing Games as the holder of multiple world records and won gold at the 2022 European Figure Skating Championships last month. Valieva’s stellar performance on Sunday also put the Russian Olympic Committee in first place in the Olympic figure skating team event with three total events left.

For comparison, here is Nagasu’s Olympic triple axel in 2018, which was the most recent one landed prior to Valieva’s.

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