Classic “Swan” Routine From Ukrainian Ice Skater Oksana Baiul

Classic “Swan” Routine From Ukrainian Ice Skater Oksana Baiul

There was a lot happening during the 1994 Winter Olympics, but everyone watching remembers the stunning performance of “The Swan” by Ukraine’s young skater, Oksana Baiul! It was mesmerizing then, and it remains so today!

Held in Lillehammer, Norway, the 1994 Winter Olympics were tainted for American figure skating participants and fans. The conflict and scandal between American competitors, Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, 24 and 23 years old at the time, had been in all the headlines and all over the television news—definitely a sad chapter for U.S.A. figure skating. For Ukraine, though, they had a rising star with 16-year-old Oksana!

Watch as she glides inaudibly across the ice with the grace of an angel. Even after a jump, she lands on the ice as lightly as if a feather has fallen from her white costume. Each movement is supremely delicate and dainty without reliance on a favorite pop song or a flashy piece of fashion. It is just pure artistry and talent that makes the performance so lovely!

It’s not just lovely. It’s gold-medal-worthy. However, this isn’t the performance that won Oksana Baiul the gold medal; it’s the one that she skated after the awards ceremony during the 1994 Olympics Exhibition.  

Notice how Oksana uses her arms in such an expressive way. Even though they aren’t decorated or covered like wings, her fluent movements make it seem like she could take flight. Oksana started out her athletic endeavors with ballet, which is certainly demonstrated in her skating. Ultimately, she chose figure skating over ballet, and what a great choice that was!

Oksana Baiul’s routine to “The Swan,” one of 14 movements in Carnival of the Animals, by Camille Saint-Saëns, must be among the most beautiful figure skating routines ever performed. Oksana was the first Olympic Gold Medalist in any sport from independent Ukraine!    

Ukraine had won their independence only a few years before Oksana’s Olympic win. Since that time, Ukraine has earned 148 Olympic medals. That’s quite an accomplishment. How many other “wins” has Ukraine had in the last 30 years? How many more are ahead for them? 

Hopefully, the leaders and the people of Ukraine have many more victories waiting—in sports and so much more.   

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,” John 17:20

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