15-year-old figure skater lands historic jump in stunning routine to Ravel’s Boléro at Olympics

7 February 2022, 12:17 | Updated: 7 February 2022, 21:41

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Ravel’s Bolero is now the soundtrack to two history-making skating performances: the precision and poise of Torvill and Dean in 1984, and the double quad of Kamila Valieva in 2022.

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Since the year 1984, French composer Maurice Ravel’s orchestral masterpiece Boléro has been synonymous with ice skating.

Skating to the work at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics, former world champions Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won gold and became the highest-scoring figure skaters of all time for a single programme – which, incidentally, took place on Valentine’s Day.

And in 2022, the classical work has once again scored a historic moment in figure skating.

15-year-old Russian skater Kamila Valieva performed a stunning routine to Boléro on Monday 7 February, and became the first female figure skater to land a quadruple jump at an Olympic Games.

Read more: Definitively the greatest classical music moments in Olympics history

15-year-old star figure skater lands historic jump in stunning Ravel ‘Bolero’ routine
15-year-old star figure skater lands historic jump in stunning Ravel ‘Bolero’ routine. Picture: Alamy

The young skating sensation has been described by commentators as the “best they’ve ever seen”, after her performance won the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team gold in Figure skating.

Quad jumps, which feature four rotations of the body mid-air, are rare in women’s figure skating. At the start of her free skate (watch below), Valieva executed a magnificent quadruple salchow, hailed as “clean as a whistle” by the commentator.

Despite falling on a third attempt at a quad, Valieva scored 30 points more than her runner-up, moving ROC into first place overall.

The repeated rhythms and jazz inflections of the Boléro have once again made Ravel the perfect soundtrack to a history-making moment in sport.

Read more: Why Tchaikovsky is played at the Winter Olympics instead of the Russian National Anthem

Valieva skated a shorter, but equally stunning, routine on Saturday. The young Russian star performed in memory of her grandma, who died in 2019, in a routine set to ‘In Memoriam’ by Russian composer Kirill Richter.

Olympic commentator and 1998 champion, Tara Lipinski, called Valieva a “once in a lifetime” talent.

“I’m having a hard time finding the proper words, but she is absolutely mesmerising,” added commentator Johnny Weir, a two-time Olympian in figure skating. “She can inspire the world with performances like that.”