13 Medal-Worthy Figure Skating And Gymnastics Song Selections

“For the Olympics, you want something really memorable and something really epic.”

Skaters competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang have us all transfixed with their routines, but will any of their performances become instant classics? It depends on a certain alchemy of athleticism and artistry, including their song selection, which this year, allows for music with lyrics.

"For the Olympics you want something really memorable and something really epic," skater Gracie Gold told USA Today in 2014, the year she competed at the Olympic Games in Sochi. "That kind of music and program that people pull up on YouTube years and years later, and as they watch that skater they think about that Olympic moment."

That same year, figure skating coach Mark Mitchell explained to The Boston Globe how the song-selection process is a balancing act. "The right music for the right skater is so important," he said. "You have to showcase their talent, showcase what they're good at. At the same time, you have to broaden them and make them better each year. It's a tricky thing. It's important, too, that the skater really love the music and feel it."

Bobby Martin, another coach, told the newspaper that choosing songs for skaters is like choosing songs for American Idol contestants: you have to play to the entrants' strengths. Classical music works for graceful, balletic skaters; athletes with more powerful presences can rock edgier music.

And as Mitchell said, it's also important that the athlete likes the selection. Mitchell once proposed Pitbull's club-banger track "International Love" to U.S. national silver medalist figure skater Ross Miner. "I am, like, the whitest boy ever," Miner told USA Today. "And the worst dancer."

Even when athletes do like their songs, though, they probably won't after their 100th or 1,000th time on the ice rink or the gymnastics floor. "By the end of every season, I'm like, 'Wow, I would be OK if I didn't have to hear this again, ever again in my life,' " Miner told the Globe. "Then, sometimes you'll catch yourself singing it in your head after you're done skating for the day and you're like, 'Get out, get out. I told you I've had enough.' "

See some of our favorite unusual song selections for figure skating and gymnastics (another rigid sport!) routines below:

1-2. American skater Jimmy Ma skating to DJ Snake’s “Propaganda” & Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What”

3. American skater Jason Brown skating to “The Room Where It Happens” from "Hamilton"

4-6. UCLA gymnast Hallie Mossett dancing to Beyoncé’s “Formation,” “Partition,” and “Single Ladies”

7. Russian skater Evgenia Medvedeva skating as Sailor Moon

8. American skater and current commentator Johnny Weir skating to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”

9. American skater Ashley Wagner skating to Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”

10. German skater Paul Fentz skating to Paul Anka’s cover of Oasis’ “Wonderwall”

11. Israeli skater Alexei Bychenko skating to Jewish folk song “Hava Nagila”

12. Ukrainian rhythmic gymnastics team performing to Madonna’s “Vogue”

13. French ice dancers Gabriella Paradais and Guillaume Cizeron dancing to “Shape of You (Latin Remix)” by Ed Sheehan featuring Zion & Lennox

Cover image: Chris Allan / Shutterstock.com

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