Ice dancing and figure skating routines are generally gorgeous, but the music behind them is what oftentimes add that emotion. On Tuesday night, U.S. figure skater Bradie Tennell's 2018 Olympics performed to a song that's expected to be especially well-received. That's because she chose a tune from the popular Korean War movie Taegukgi. And now, Americans are about to become familiar with the blockbuster too.
This actually isn't the first time Tennell has performed to the song in PyeongChang. She first danced to the track last Sunday before the USA took home the bronze medal in the 2018 Winter Olympic team competition. In that competition, she came in fifth place with a score of 68.94. In fact, it was her personal best score ever. The 20-year-old athlete explained the significance of the song to USA Today following that first performance,
It's a beautiful story and it means something to me, and I hope that comes out in my skating. This music is very dear to a lot of people here and I hope I did it justice.
It felt like I was doing another program in a practice session — 'You've done this program a million times, it's just a million and one. I got butterflies right before my music started but when the music starts, I go on autopilot and just lose myself in it.
It isn't hard to see how she loses herself in the song, which was composed by Dong-jun Lee. It's an intense orchestral piece that packs a lot of power, passion, and raw emotion. Though Tennell fell in her opening triple Lutz-triple toe combination of the free skate routine — she rarely ever falls — the rest of it was on-point, eventually earning her a 64.01 in the short program. “My timing was just a little off, my left arm got a little away from me so I wasn’t able to get the snap I needed,” she told TIME following the routine. “Things happen, we’re all human and make mistakes but you get up and keep going.” It was her fall of the current figure skating season. “It’s a setback but it’s important not to dwell on things like that. I’m just looking forward to the free skate," she added.
And being the first skater on the ice for the short program could not have been easy. “I’m not very fond of skating first, but it’s what you train for, and I’ve skated first a bunch of times,” she explained to TIME. “Nobody likes to be first out there, right?” But her routine — and song choice — definitely did not disappoint. As she told USA Today, the soundtrack to Taegukgi is special to lots of people. The film, also known as The Brotherhood of War, came out in 2004, is nearly two-and-a-half hours long, and stars Dong-gun Jang and Bin Won. It's the story of two brothers in the Korean War during the 1950s. One brother, according to IMDB, fights the more dangerous battles in order to help protect his younger sibling from the violence.
Ultimately, Taegukgi won best film in the Baeksang Arts Awards, along with Grand Bell awards for best cinematography, best art direction, and best sound effects. The film also won Blue Dragon Film awards and best film and best director awards at the Asia Pacific Film Festival.
Though Tennell's performance wasn't perfect, she should be proud. For one, she has another chance during the women's figure skating long program. Secondly, it's quite possible that you'll see Tennell back and better than ever at the next round of Olympic Winter Games in four years.