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Get ready for figure skating’s new sound: Vocal music

France Figure Skating

US skater Ashley Wagner performs her Ladies Short Program during the ISU Figure Skating Eric Bompard Trophy at Bercy arena in Paris, Friday Nov. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)


Ice dancers have it. Men’s, women’s, and pairs skaters don’t. But that’s going to change soon.

Starting in the 2014-15 season, figure skaters in the latter three Olympic disciplines will have the option to use vocal music with lyrics. The International Skating Union (the Olympic governing body) voted to do so in 2012, which makes Sochi a bit of a farewell.

Obviously, that opens the door for many genres of music to be used, from rap to rock to country.

It also means that instead of using instrumental versions of pop songs, skaters can use the real deals.

Let’s face it: It would’ve been cool to hear the original Pink Floyd version of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” behind Ashley Wagner (pictured) in her short program.

The explanation for this move is - surprise, surprise - getting the younger set more involved.

“The young people requested to have vocal music with lyrics because it is more connected to the music of today, and they like to skate to the music they are hearing,” International Skating Union official Fabio Bianchetti said to The New York Times.

However, the sport appears to be cautious about vocal music’s upcoming implementation. After all, there’s the ever-present issue of maintaining the sport’s credibility.

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Former world champion Kurt Browning seemed to indicate it’ll all come down to the skaters when it comes to how the change goes over with the public.

“Lyrics and words artistically are an opportunity,” Browning said to the NYT’s Christopher Cleary. “But it’s also a bigger chance to screw up. So we’ll have to see how smart some of them are.

“I think some of the lower guys can really bring some attention to themselves, and the top guys have to be careful.”

Back in the ‘80s, Browning himself used a sorta-instrumental version of “Tequila” in one of his programs - the actual word “tequila” was kept in.

As the Canadian notes in Cleary’s piece: “I never got a deduction from the judges.”

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