Olympic Ice Skating is Set to Music That is Subpar

Poetry in motion, but can you fix the music, please?(Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davotoula/)
Poetry in motion, but can you fix the music, please?(Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davotoula/)

What is it with the music at the Olympics? Not to channel Andy Rooney, but it seems that when you have a budget that, according to one report, exceeds 1.75 BILLION dollars, the music for the ice skaters could be just a little better.

A recent article by Anne Midgette in the Washington Post takes to task the folks who decide what music to use in each program and makes some good points:

Increasingly popular, too, are film scores. “Film scores have no rhythm,” Hurwitz says. “It’s just mood music, not meant to be choreographed. But they do it anyway, because they liked the movie [and can] wear a funky costume.”

For the Japanese skater Miki Ando, the 2007 ladies’ world champion, (Alexander) Goldstein (a Russian-born composer) has assembled a short program from excerpts of Mozart’s Requiem. The problem is that no branch of figure skating, except ice dancing, allows words in the musical selections for its programs. Goldstein, therefore, had to creatively arrange the score. “I used the choir, but they don’t pronounce any words,” Goldstein says. The result is a kind of expressive vocalise that, as he says with a “what can I do” tone in his voice, “fulfills the figure skating requirements.”

My complaint, however, goes to the WAY it is mixed and to the terrible quality of the recordings they use. I’m sure by now my family hates to watch the Olympics with me, because I spend my whole time whining about the music and how much better I could do it.

In the report I saw, the allocation for technology, which I assume would include editing equipment, was nearly $392,000,000. The budgeted amount for “Services and Games Operations” was over $616,000,000. Probably somewhere down in the fine print was  $137.93 for recordings and music production…either that, or they turned to an intern and said, “Do you have any recordings in your car?”

If we can see how many millimeters separate the skate blades of  Apolo Anton Ohno and Charles Hamelin, surely someone can make the music we hear as enjoyable and entertaining as the skaters we’re watching.

International Olympic Committee…call me. I think we can work something out.

  • Tre C.

    The problem is the IOC has nothing to do with the cuts of music the skaters use. The music is provided to the competition by the skaters, and is a cut of music that they have used for the entire season (well before they know if they have made the Olympic team or not). Figure skating training, costumes, etc. costs thousands upon thousands of dollars at the elite level.

    Having music cut by a professional can cost a small fortune, which the skaters must absorb. Added to that, there are time requirements, choreography issues, and the need to have different tempos (generally, some don’t but in faster pieces in order not to completely lose energy at the end, it’s best to have a slower section, which may or may not be the same piece of music).

    However, the IOC/COC and their budget (which includes things like the Opening Ceremonies) has nothing to do with the actual cut of the skaters music, just providing the equipment to actually play the music.