Despacito might have been the smash hit of 2017, but the Spanish-language tune is still going strong, heating up the 2018 Winter Olympics.
In an attempt to attract younger viewership, the International Skating Union announced during the 2013-2014 Olympics that going forward it would allow figure skaters to perform to music with lyrics. (Historically, the union has only allowed instrumental music.) This season was the first time ever the new rule was implemented — and to thrilling effect. On Feb. 10, ice skating dance duos were required to feature a “Latin rhythm,” which prompted two pairs — Shiyue Wang and Xinyu Liu of China and Yura Min and Alexander Gamelin of South Korea — to blast the Grammy-nominated hit “Despacito” in back-to-back performances.
Fans of the competitive sport and 2017’s summer anthem expressed their excitement on social media.
“I think that bringing this different dimension kind of opens doors for skaters that weren’t there before,” Canadian skater Eric Radford told Billboard recently. “[Music is] probably one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a skater.”
The South Korean and Chinese skating teams musical pick continues the hot track’s winning streak. Last month, “Despacito” was certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), representing 10 million or more sales and streams in the United States. Although Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi’s record-breaking tune didn’t take home any Grammys this past January, the two Puerto Rican artists stole the show with an unforgettable performance of their global hit that brought the star-studded audience to their feet for a standing ovation and thrilled Latino fans across social media.