Mao Asada Triple Axel - Double Toe Loop Combination

As in the Men's event, there are some who believe that Yu-Na Kim was over-scored in the competition, and wonder why the skater with the most difficult jumps -- Mao Asada's with three triple Axels --  did not win.

We wonder why Asada got as much credit for her two triple Axel - double toe loops as she did.  The following series of photos show that Asada's two combinations were less than perfect.  The viewer can decide for them self if these elements should have been scored as fully rotated with no negative GoEs.

Additional remarks added 1 March 2010

The photos presented have been selected to document key moments in the execution of the elements for comparative purposes.   It would be incorrect to assume every photo is presented because an error is present in every photo.  The 1/8 (?) turn skid on each Axel takeoff is not unusual and is modest in comparison to others examples of this jump by current and past skaters.  The takeoff photos provide a frame of reference for the blade position, and trace of the takeoff edge, at the start of the jump against which later photos can be compared.

The entry edge trace of the takeoff photo is the same length as the trace in the subsequent photo (not shown) which demonstrates there was no additional skid rotation in the time interval between frames.

Question marks indicate that orientation angles are obviously estimates only.  A quantitative analysis has yet to be completed and there are limitations working with a single viewing angle available from one camera, which is why we leave it to the viewer, for now, to draw their own conclusions.  A more quantitative analysis will be conducted in the near future.

Asada Triple Axel - Double Toe Loop Combination
Short Program


Triple Axel takeoff skid of 1/8 turn?


Instant of triple Axel landing, kicking up snow at the toe.  No trace visible to right of blade.


Struggling to hold onto landing and not two foot.

Blade has turned more than 1/4 on the ice?


Final triple Axel landing edge.

Compare blade orientation to two above photos.  Note the large hooked skid on the landing trace.

Double toe loop mid-tap
Double toe loop taking off forwards.

Double Toe loop just after contact with ice.


Double toe landing two footed?

Lower toe pick not visible, in the ice.


Detail of two foot on double toe loop landing and trace on the ice.


Final exit edge.



Asada Triple Axel - Double Toe Loop Combination
Free Skate


Triple Axel entry edge.


Triple Axel takeoff pre-rotation skid. 1/8 turn pre-rotation?


Triple Axel initial landing contact.

Compare blade orientation to tracing of takeoff edge in above photo, and final blade position after rotation on the ice in following photos.

Triple Axel final landing edge.

1/3 rotation cheat compared to initial contact?


Takeoff of double toe loop forward with one-half turn pre-rotation.  Skater is forward with tapping foot still on the ice.


Landing of double toe loop all the way around, and kicking up snow as the rocker contacts the ice.

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Copyright 2010 by George S. Rossano