olympic skaters yuri on ice


Japanese figure skaters bring ‘Yuri on Ice’ to the Olympics

These Japanese athletes skated to the theme music from hit anime series 'Yuri on Ice.'


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Feb 9, 2018   Updated on May 22, 2021, 1:32 am CDT

Anime arrived at the Winter Olympics on Thursday night, courtesy of a Yuri on Ice program by two Japanese figure skaters.

Miu Suzaki and Ryuichi Kihara skated to the theme music from Yuri on Ice, celebrating the smash-hit anime series about a champion skater. This won’t be the last we see of Yuri at the Olympics, partly because many pro skaters (including NBC commentator Johnny Weir) are obsessed with the show, and partly because Suzaki and Kihara will perform the routine again during the main Pairs competition on Tuesday evening.

Thursday’s performance was actually part of the team event, the figure skating equivalent of a relay race. Countries put forward a team of skaters who repeat the same programs from their individual events. Medals are then awarded for the best combined achievement for the team as a whole. Suzaki and Kihara came eighth out of 10 pairs, although their teammate Shoma Uno came first in the men’s event, also held last night.

Thanks to the content restrictions for Olympic competition footage, we can’t share a full video of their program from last night’s event. However, you can watch them perform the same Yuri on Ice routine here, from a competition earlier in the season:

The team event began before the official Olympic opening ceremony, with pairs and solo male skaters competing from 10 different countries. It wasn’t an auspicious start to the games. The pairs skaters did fine (with the Yuri on Ice program obviously stealing the show), but the men were kind of a fiasco. Almost everyone performed below their usual ability except Japan’s Shoma Uno, who scored significantly above his closest competitor. The second part of their competition will air on Friday and Saturday, as the skaters return for the more technically grueling long program.

By the way, if you’re having trouble with any of the skating terminology during the Winter Olympics, you should honestly just watch a few episodes of Yuri on Ice. It’s a surprisingly good crash course in how the sport works.

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*First Published: Feb 9, 2018, 7:05 am CST