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It May Look The Same, But Olympic Figure Skating Will Sound Different In 2018

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Jason Brown competed in the men’s short program during the 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif., with a song from Hamilton, the musical. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images hide caption

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During the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, figure skaters will still dazzle audiences with triple axles and quadruple salchows and routines presented with elegance.

But this year the sport might sound different: Pyeongchang will be the first Olympics where skaters in the men’s, women’s and pairs categories can use vocal music in their routines.

The change isn’t new; the International Skating Union voted on the issue in 2012. But the vote included a provision that the change would take place in the 2014-15 season — after the Sochi Olympics finished.

The decision came as the governing body hopes to reach a wider audience — and after the U.S. Championships it seems like that may be working.

At the U.S. National Championships in San Jose, Calif., skater Jimmy Ma started his short program routine with music that left the commentators disagreeing about what genre it was. Then about halfway through, the bass dropped and Lil Jon’s

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