In case world domination wasn’t already enough, “Despacito” has now also made it to the Olympics. Yura Min and Alexander Gamelin, two ice dancers representing South Korea, hit the rink this weekend with a routine that started with a slow and slinky version of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s ubiquitous earworm — meaning the song can now add a whirl on the winter games to its endless list of accolades.
The International Skating Union tweaked its rules a few years ago and decided to allow music with lyrics into competition. As The New York Times writes, the new regulations are an effort to draw in younger viewers, who might be more excited to see Top 40 hits on ice, rather than classical music. Athletes have been taking advantage of the change by updating their routines. Justin Bieber, James Brown, Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé have all made it into performances at the winter games, and now “Despacito” lovers can sing along while watching Min and Gamelin glide across the ice. The two skaters seem to have a penchant for Latino sounds; the medley they performed to also included Mariah Carey’s “My All” and Thalia’s “Mujer Latina,” Billboard noted. They finished 9th in the figure skating team event (Min also made news for avoiding a wardrobe malfunction during the choreography).
Just after Min and Gamelin showed off their skills, Chinese skaters Shiyue Wang and Xinyu Liu came out and danced to — you guessed it — “Despacito” again, only this time it was a cover sung by Leroy Sanchez and Madilyn Bailey. First the charts, now Pyeongchang. We’ve seen how the song has taken over pretty much every country and music platform in its path, so can’t say we’re totally surprised to see it getting Olympic love.
The ice dance competition is scheduled to take place on February 19, and athletes are required to skate to “Latin rhythms,” defined as the cha cha, rhumba, samba, mambo, merengue, salsa, and/or bachata, so we’ll likely see more Latin American music featured in the next event.