Olympic Ice Skaters Are Performing To Music You'll Actually Recognize

The games in Pyeongchang mark the first Winter Olympics where skaters can perform to music with vocals.
Posted at 6:39 PM, Feb 12, 2018

When you think about figure skating, you're probably imagining classical music.

With repeated performances to Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake," Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," and instrumental medleys from Bizet's "Carmen," the music of figure skating can get a little repetitive. That changed, however, with a major rule change from the sport's governing body.

Starting with the 2014-2015 skating season, the International Skating Union allowed performances to music with vocals. Experts say the decision was meant to make the sport more appealing to younger viewers. 

The games in Pyeongchang will mark the first Winter Olympics to see the new rule — but the freedom to use music with vocals has already changed the tune of the sport.

Performing to songs from "Moulin Rouge," Canadian Olympians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir earned a perfect score at the 2018 Canadian Nationals. In Pyeongchang, their risque performance took home gold.

Other teams had the same idea, though. Yahoo Entertainment reports that five competitors in total will perform to music from "Moulin Rouge," making it the most popular music choice this year. Other popular choices include "Despacito," "Hallelujah," "Papa, Can You Hear Me?" and songs by Coldplay.

One of those skaters performing to Coldplay was Adam Rippon. In an interview with Billboard, the skater said the ability to perform to music with vocals "really opened the door for somebody like me to go out there and try to change it up a little bit. ... If I want to skate to Coldplay, I'll skate to Coldplay."

Amid these decisions to broaden the sport's musical repertoire, other competitors are still choosing to perform to music without vocals. We're not talking Tchaikovsky or Beethoven, though. This year, audience members will also get to hear music from "Star Wars," "Game of Thrones," and even the popular figure skating anime "Yuri!!! On Ice."