Two Women Land Triple Axels
Oct. 27, 2002
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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ Yukari Nakano of Japan and Ludmila Nelidina of Russia landed triple axels at Skate America on Saturday night, the first women to do the jump in international competition since 1992.
Nakano and Nelidina are only the third and fourth women to ever land triple axels in international competition. Midori Ito was the first, in 1989, and Tonya Harding did it at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1991.
Ito landed the last triple axel in international competition, doing it at the 1992 Olympics.
``I'm really, really happy,'' said Nakano, who landed hers about 25 minutes before Nelidina.
The triple axel is one of the most difficult jumps because a skater must do 3 1/2 revolutions before landing. It's a staple in men's skating, but few women even attempt it.
Nakano is coached by Machiko Yamada, who was also Ito's coach.
``I think she'll congratulate me,'' Nakano said of Ito.
Nakano began practicing the triple axel two years ago, but couldn't get it. She gave it up last year, but went back to it in April. Two months later, she was landing it cleanly in practice.
Nakano landed it for the first time in competition last month, a qualifying meet for the Japanese nationals.
``Midori's jumps are much higher, more powerful,'' Yamada said. ``Yukari needs to really, really practice. Midori is more easygoing and has the natural ability to do the jumps.''