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It May Look The Same, But Olympic Figure Skating Will Sound Different In 2018

Jason Brown competed in a men’s brief module during a 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif., with a strain from Hamilton, a musical.

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images


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Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Jason Brown competed in a men’s brief module during a 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif., with a strain from Hamilton, a musical.

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

During a Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, figure skaters will still daunt audiences with triple axles and quadruple salchows and routines presented with elegance.

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But this year a competition competence sound different: Pyeongchang will be a initial Olympics where skaters in a men’s, women’s and pairs categories can use outspoken song in their routines.

The change isn’t new; a International Skating Union voted on a emanate in 2012. But a opinion enclosed a sustenance that a change would take place in a 2014-15 deteriorate — after a Sochi Olympics finished.

The preference came as a ruling physique hopes to strech a wider assembly — and after a U.S. Championships it seems like that might be working.

At a U.S. National Championships in San Jose, Calif., skater Jimmy Ma started his brief module slight with song that left a commentators conflicting about what genre it was. Then about median through, a drum forsaken and Lil Jon’s voice belted out “turn down for what?” That’s when a throng went crazy.

Audiences should design to see some-more routines set to song with lyrics, be it from a rapper like Lil Jon or one of a many hits from Hamilton, USA Today sports reporter Maggie Hendricks told All Things Considered host Kelly McEvers, adding that it creates for fun, enchanting moments on a ice.

“And since not? Figure skating should be fun,” she said.

By permitting song with vocals, Hendricks says a assembly can get to know a skaters in some-more ways than before, indicating out that for Ma chose a square a really opposite piece, a combination by Sergei Rachmaninoff, for his prolonged program.

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“So, we know, we have this change of skater and training about who they are in ways that we never could when we were carrying lyricless song or only exemplary pieces or show pieces,” she says. “You’re only removing this whole new side of them.”

This is really a box with one of Hendricks’ favorite skating performances to outspoken music: Last year Yuzuru Hanyu, a reigning universe champion and Olympic champion, chose to perform “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince during a International Skating Union’s Grand Prix in 2016.

“He’s one of a best skaters to ever travel this earth,” she says. “He has really most a stone star swagger. In Japan, he is a stone star. The approach he brings a spins, we start to see Prince’s song function on a ice when we see Yuzuru Hanyu movement to it. … And even during one point, he arrange of takes his leg behind his conduct and plays it like he’s personification a guitar.”

Though many performances involving outspoken song were a hit, Hendricks says infrequently they don’t work out so well.

“Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are Canadian figure skaters … an extraordinary pair, though in their brief module they have — sandwiched between ‘Oye Como Va’ and ‘Sympathy For The Devil,’ — ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles,” Hendricks says. “It’s only so disappointing.”

However, Ma’s opening and others’, including Jason Brown’s and Bradie Tennell’s, did locate a courtesy of some who voiced their capitulation of a process change on Twitter.

“When a figure skating module goes viral, there’s somebody examination that somewhere and saying, ‘hey, maybe we can try figure skating,’ And that is a outrageous partial of a Olympics … each competition gets a small bump,” Hendricks says. “It gets some people meddlesome in it and perplexing it, since they’ve saw it and they saw something in it.

“I don’t know if all of a immature kids out there would have indispensably seen something of themselves in a Rachmaninoff, though they certain as heck would see it in a Lil Jon version.”