Olympic figure skaters pay homage to anime 'Yuri on Ice'

Art imitates life or vice versa in the Olympic figure skating world

Olympic figure skaters pay homage to anime 'Yuri on Ice'
Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki is the main character of the anime Yuri on Ice. Japanese pairs skaters Kihara and Suzaki performed to the piano version of Katsuki's free program music in Pyeongchang. © Yuri on Ice/MAPPA/Getty Images

By Nicole Winchester, CBC Sports

It was the squee heard 'round the world.

During the pairs section in the team figure skating event, skating and anime fans alike were delighted to hear music from Yuri on Ice, a popular Japanese figure skating anime.

Japanese pairs skaters Ryuichi Kihara and Miu Suzaki skated their short program to main character Yuri Katsuki's free skate music in the pairs competition.

Fans were hyped.

The pair were even thanked by the anime's co-creator, Mitsurou Kubo.

Skater Evgenia Medvedeva, an Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR), is a huge fan of the anime. She's been known to live tweet while she watches, she dressed up as Yuri Katsuki, and she's definitely a fan of fellow Russian, character Victor Nikiforov.

Medvedeva is a fan of other anime too, having performed a Sailor Moon routine with a transformation sequence, which has inspired some crossover fan art.

Michael Christian Martinez of the Philippines and American skater Adam Rippon also like to relax with some Yuri on Ice when they have some time off.

There's also a Canadian connection.

Although American skater Joe Johnson didn't make it to the Olympics, he paid homage to another 'JJ' at the U.S. championships — Jean-Jacques "JJ" Leroy, the fictional Canadian skater from the anime.

Lastly, did Yuzuru Hanyu and his Winnie the Pooh tissue box inspire the anime?

Coach Brian Orser is a common sight with Hanyu's good luck charm, and while Hanyu wasn't allowed to bring his tissue box to the Olympics due to sponsorship concerns, fans made sure he had a Winnie no matter what.

Hanyu's training partner, Spain's Javier Fernandez, even got himself a Mickey to match.

So, is coach Victor's tissue box, modelled on his beloved poodle Makkachin, based on the double-Olympic champion's Pooh Bear? It certainly looks familiar.