A German figure skater’s free skate will be remembered, but not for being an exceptional Olympic performance. Nicole Schott, who finished 18th in the event in Pyeongchang, chose part of the score from the 1993 Oscar-winning film “Schindler’s List” as her skating soundtrack, and this had some Twitter users expressing shock and disapproval online.
“German figure skater performing to music from Schindler’s List. Thats...not the choice I’d go with,” one viewer tweeted during the skate.
NBC Olympics correspondent and “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones reacted as well, tweeting along with video of the televised performance, “Um is this weird y’all correct me if I’m wrong cause y’all know I’m a dumb a-- sometimes.”
The Steven Spielberg-directed film is based on the story of German Oskar Schindler, who is said to have saved the lives of more than 1,000 Polish Jews during the Holocaust by employing them to work in his factory.
Schott hasn’t responded to any of the online criticism, and it’s not clear that it’s even reached her yet. But she is not the first skater to perform to John Williams’ Oscar-winning score: In the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russian skater Yulia Lipnitskaya also danced to the music, and she drew criticism online as well. A story on Slate at the time said Lipnitskaya’s performance “raise[d] questions of taste and respect.” Then, some defended her choice, such as British-based Russian journalist Dmitri Linnik. “I don’t see how it trivializes (the Holocaust) or is in bad taste,” he said, according to this BBC.com story. He also pointed out that many skaters had used music from the 1994 film score to “Cabaret,” a musical set in Nazi Germany, without raising eyebrows.
The BBC column also noted that German Olympic champion Katarina Witt used the "Schindler's List" score in the 1994 World Professional Figure Skating Championships — as did American skater Paul Wylie. And here's a video that, according to its Youtube uploader, depicts NBC Olympics correspondent and Closing Ceremony co-host Johnny Weir performing to the score at the Duluth Ice Forum in 2013.
The criticism of Schott’s musical selection brought out her defenders as well, who conjectured that she may have made the selection to pay “homage.”
“I don’t see a problem with a German figure skater performing to the main theme of Schindler’s List. Oskar Schindler is a German that everyone should know, as he represents humanity at its most altruistic,” one user tweeted. “What’s wrong with paying homage to that?”
The film’s music, written by John Williams, won the Academy Award for Best Original Score at the 1994 Oscars. Violinist Itzhak Perlman performed Williams’ score.
Below, scroll through some of the reaction tweets to Schott's free skate performance.