Julia Lipnitskaia, the 15-year-old Russian Olympic ice skater who is emerging as a superstar at the Sochi Winter Olympics, performed a routine to the theme song from Holocaust film “Schindler’s List” on Sunday, and became the youngest person ever to win a Winter Olympics gold medal, the Miami Herald reported.
The Russian teenager’s “signature piece,” set to John Williams’s score from the 1993 Steven Spielberg film, featured Lipnitskaia skating as the film’s iconic “girl in the red coat,” a young Polish Jew who is killed by Nazi soldiers.
A blog published by online magazine Slate questioned the choice: “‘Finally, someone has adapted the saddest scene from a Holocaust movie into an acrobatic figure-skating routine.’ No? Just me? No one else?”
The movie, in the words of Slate, “tells the story of a German industrialist who, by employing Jews in his factories, saved them from near-certain death at the hands of the Nazis. In the movie, the ‘girl in the red coat’ — a rare splash of color in the black-and-white movie — is first seen during the violent liquidation of the Jewish ghetto in Krakow. Later, Oskar Schindler finds the girl’s dead body, and, stricken by guilt and remorse, decides to take action.”
Slate said, surprisingly, there’s a long history of ice skaters incorporating motifs from the film into their routines, including Katarina Witt, Irina Slutskaya and Johnny Weir, who have all performed to the Holocaust film’s theme song.
A post on the figure-skating blog Morozombie noted that it was “wary of attempts to portray the evils of the Holocaust and the suffering of the Jewish people on ice.” The blog said the theme song represents “a convenient opportunity to use dress up in sombre colors, use various overwrought dramatic contrivances and make overly melodramatic and agonized faces.”
Slate noted that Lipnitskaia’s Schindler’s List program was choreographed by Ilia Averbukh, a former Olympic ice dancing medalist who is a Russian Jew.
Watch the “girl in the red coat” clip from the movie below:
Watch Lipnitskaia’s “red coat” routine, from the 2014 European Figure Skating Championships below: