Sports and music are thoroughly intertwined. Everyone needs a hype-up song, a game-time anthem, a walk-up song. And in the realm of world-class athletes, none know the importance of song better than Olympians.
For the 2022 Winter Olympics, the intensely watched figure skating events, in particular, have featured some interesting music choices.
Russian figure skater Alexandra Trusova performed her silver medal free skate program to a mashup of “Call Me Cruella” by Florence and the Machine and “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by the Stooges. Watch her performance HERE.
Interestingly, Trusova’s rock classic pick was a deviation from previous skaters. Others in the sport, such as American pair Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who helped Team USA take home the silver medal in the team figure skating competition, chose a Daft Punk medley of “Contact,” “Touch” and “Within” from the band’s 2013 album Random Access Memories.
But how are these athletes choosing their songs?
“There’s a lot,” American pairs skater Brandon Frazier explained to USA Today. “We try to find music we relate to. That’s number one. We rely heavily on our choreographer’s opinion, on what they see us doing. … But all in all, when we’re skating to it, we have to feel it.”
“You hear this music every single day. You do the same motions every single day,” American Olympic gold medalist Nathan Chen further explained. “So if something that is not fun to skate, it becomes kind of a chore for a period of time.”
Chen won his gold medal skating to a medley of Elton John songs—“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” “Rocket Man,” and “Bennie and the Jets.”
So, what we’re hearing is that music is a necessary part of the Olympics. NBC Sports put together a list of the songs that American Olympians are listening to. Snowboarder Shaun White picked “Revvin’ my Cj7” by Summer Salt, and Freestyle skier Ashley Caldwell chose “Wake Me Up” by Foals. Listen to the full playlist of American Olympian’s favorite songs below.