What Is Pauline Schafer's Floor Music? The Olympic Gymnast Surprised Viewers With This Haunting Melody
German gymnast Pauline Schäfer gave a stunning floor performance on August 9, but aside from her expertise on the mat, there was one aspect of the routine that really drew viewers in: her haunting selection of floor music. As soon as the first stroke of piano keys reverberated throughout the stadium, people began asking: What is Schäfer's floor music? Both casual fans and the "gymternet" (the devoted corner of the web which tracks each gymnasts' moves) couldn't get the song out of their heads.
All for good reason — Schäfer's routine was performed to the evocative melody of Southern Korean pianist and composer Yurima's "River Flows In You." Yurima's piano ballad was first released in his 2001 album First Love, and successfully helped catapult his career to Asian, European, and North American markets. The song has also received a second life through the YouTube community, with covers of the ballad popping up among some of the site's most talented musicians.
Schäfer's routine complemented this music perfectly. She relied on moves that, when placed between striking flips and tumbles, looked as though they could have easily been pulled from the characteristic grace of a ballerina. With its sweeping dips and gradual crescendo, "River Flows In You" was the ideal choice to match Schäfer's balance of elegance and strength. The 2015 World Championships bronze medalist obviously knows how to move a crowd with both her moves and music.
Filled with all the makings of a love ballad, the song was also once incorrectly attributed to a romance between a certain human and vampire. Fans of the Twilight franchise thought the song would work perfectly as "Bella's lullaby," which is composed and performed for the main character by romantic interest and sparkling vampire Edward Cullen. This rumor circled for some time, leaving many fans believing that it was Yurima's song (and not by American composer Carter Burwell) that made it into the final cut of the Twilight soundtrack. For what it's worth, Burwell's song certainly does deliver similar musical phrasing to Yurima's.
But Twilight rumors aside, it will be interesting to tune in to hear what music the German Olympian uses for her upcoming performances in the individual all-around, vault, beam, and uneven bars. Schäfer obviously has a clear understanding of how to best pair her talent to music, and so viewers will likely not be disappointed with the German gymnast's musical choices throughout the remainder of the games.