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Break Yo TV: Nirvana on Ice

on March 18, 2010, 2:00pm

Where’s the last place you would expect to hear Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”? The grocery store? Your grandmother’s weekly bridge game? How about a figure skating competition? All good ideas, except for that last one, which actually happened. Way back in 1998, visionary figure skater Scott Williams confused and shocked spectators during a televised competition. He didn’t win a medal that day, but he certainly won some hearts.

Up until then, Williams was a well known, well decorated figure skater who did things the highly trained and expected way, creating routines around overly dramatic classical music. One day, something snapped in the man that made him want radical change. Perhaps not change in the way the sport was performed, but in the music that was used. He didn’t want to just flail around in between triple axels, acting over the top to something he had done a thousand times.  So what’s a frustrated man on skates supposed to do? For Williams at least, it was to pick up some “Teen Spirit” and ice-mosh his heart out.

There aren’t many words that describe the scene of an ice dancer interpreting what is, probably, the most famous grunge song ever, for serious judges at a national competition. Awkward, hilarious, and fashion-forward are just a few ways to describe it, but I think the best word would have to be genius. Even the commentators know how “innovative” Mr. Williams was as he spun and jumped across the ice.

Wearing the 90’s redneck uniform of ripped jeans, sleeveless flannel, and a bandana to hold back those long locks, Williams is quick into the triple axel soon after the song kicks off. He head bangs and air drums before transitioning from one jump to the next. The commentators are basically rendered speechless. But, they stayed surprisingly positive through the barrel-rolling end.

Think what you will, but Williams is the only man I know of with the balls to do what he did. For a sport that’s only innovative move has been to put one more spin in a jump, using a popular rock song runs the risk of being a kiss of death. Either way, he did it, and he gave it all he had, actually being technically precise making it look so easy. You like them apples Evan Lysacek?

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