Olympic Figure Skater Adam Rippon Helps Explain How Music Is Chosen for Skating Programs

Dion Lee of Vox spoke with Adam Rippon, the fabulous Olympic figure skater who has become a bit of a firebrand, and music designer Hugo Choudinard to learn about the history of and the process for choosing music for skating programs, both long and short, the popularity of “Carmen” and how the world of music opened up in 2014 when songs with lyrics were officially approved.

For a long time, figure skaters skated to classics like Carmen, Swan Lake, and Don Quixote. Not only because it’s great music but because of the clear story line and the dynamic characters in them. But this is all changing. In 2014, the ISU changed the music rules to allow skaters to skate to music with lyrics. Now with a wider range of music to choose from — some skaters like Jimmy Ma have traded in Bizet for Lil Jon. Will this be a new era of figure skating?