Perfect Fit or Bad Taste? Lipnitskaya's Gold-winning 'Schindler's List' Routine

The audience is divided over the 15-year-old Russian figure skater's choice of music – and iconic red costume.

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Fifteen-year-old Russian figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya wowed the world Sunday with a performance that secured Russia its first gold at the Sochi Winter Olympics. But her choice of music – the score to "Schindler's List" – and her red costume have grabbed the attention of Twitter and the blogosphere.

Aside from her choice of a score from a movie about the Holocaust, what really got people's attention was her choice of red outfit, according to the BBC's Magazine Monitor.

Steven Spielberg's multi-Oscar-winning Holocaust movie is filmed entirely in black-and-white, aside from the appearance of a girl in a red coat. First we see the girl in the Jewish ghetto, and later the film's protagonist, German businessman Oskar Schindler, sees the dead girl, still in her red coat. This is a turning point for Schindler and his mission to save his "list" of Jews from the Nazis.

Reactions on Twitter ranged from amazement at the performance to questioning Lipnitskaya's choice of score. One entertainment writer for the the Los Angeles Times tweeted, "Just realized Yulia Lipnitskaya skated to "Schindler's List" theme while wearing a red coat. Bold statement for a 15-year-old."

Others had a more ironic take on the routine in red. "Girl's a star! And not a yellow one! Say it with me: 'Schindler's List: On Ice'!," read one Tweet. Another quipped that Lipnitskaya "strategically picked music from 'Schindler's List' for her long program so she wouldn't have to worry about smiling."

For others, the "Schindler's List" theme was a fitting choice. One woman tweeted, "I thought Yulia Lipnitskaya's performance was a beautiful reflection of tragedy in Schindler's List #Sochi2014." 

Another thanked Lipnitskaya on behalf of the Jewish people: "Thank you for skating beautifully to music from 'Schindler's List.' Thank you from the Jewish people. @Sochi2014 #NeverForget."

Others wondered whether the young skater knew the significance of her choice:"As lovely as Yulia Lipnitskaya is, having trouble with the 'Schindler's List' theme. #thinksheknows?"

This is not the first time that film's score has made it onto the ice. The score of violin music by John Williams, which is performed by Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman, has been the choice of skaters since "Schindler's List" was released in 1994.

According to the BBC, American figure skater Paul Wylie performed a routine to the score in 1994. Katerina Witt, a German figure skater, performed to the score in a red costume in 1995.

Compared to these past performances, figure skating blog Morozombie found Liptinskaya's performance "strangely tolerable, even compelling".

"Years of watching skaters treat 'Schindler's List' programs as a convenient opportunity to use dress up in sombre colors, use various overwrought dramatic contrivances and make overly melodramatic and agonized faces, have left me generally unimpressed and wary of attempts to portray the evils of the Holocaust and the suffering of the Jewish people on ice. Figure skating, with its various fripperies and accoutrements (both sartorial and otherwise) is far from the ideal, respectful arena to explore such issues."  

Yulia Lipnitskaya of Russia competes during the figure skating team ladies' free skating at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, February 9, 2014.Credit: Reuters

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