Canadian pair help clinch team gold to Adele
Skaters now allowed music with lyrics
"Despacito" heard twice in team event arena
Adele was there, and so were Beyoncé, Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
No, this wasn’t a night out in a Las Vegas hotel, but the Olympic figure skating arena at the PyeongChang 2018 Games.
In an Olympic first, skaters who used to perform to beautiful pieces of classical music – who can forget Katarina Witt’s mesmerizing performance to the opera “Carmen” in Calgary in 1988? – are now allowed to skate to music with lyrics.
And in another first, Eric Radford became the first openly gay man to clinch an Olympic gold medal when he helped Canada win the figure skating team event with his partner Meagan Duhamel.
They did so to Adele’s “Hometown Glory.”
“If you have the wrong piece of music and it doesn’t connect with the audience or the judges, it doesn’t really matter how great you skate. You’re gonna be missing something,” Radford told CBC Radio recently, as he explained a switch in December from music by Muse back to Adele, which had helped them win the 2016 world championships.
His teammate Patrick Chan almost secured the gold for Canada as he performed his routine to a haunting version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley.
Elvis and The Beatles
On Saturday, French figure skater Mae-Berenice Meite stole the show with a program set to a medley of Beyoncé hits. Although the crowd at the Gangneung Ice Arena lapped it up, she fell and finished in ninth place in the women’s short program.
Other familiar names – rock stars, that is – included an Elvis Presley medley, including “Rip It Up” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love” for Russian skater Mikhail Kolyada. Italy’s Matteo Rizzo performed to three evergreens from The Beatles: “Come Together,” “Help!” and “Let It Be.”
“Despacito” – the Latin pop tune by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee – was used not once but twice: by the South Korean and Chinese teams.
Perhaps it’s time to bring back “Carmen”?