The Olympics: The most famous Olympic theme songs

·2 min read
GREECE - AUGUST 13:  Photo of BJORK; Bjork backstage at the opening of the 2004 Athens Olympics  (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)
Bjork backstage at the opening of the 2004 Athens Olympics (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)

Remembering famous artists who have been asked to perform and promote the Olympic Games down the years is a trying experience - not least for the fact that there have been few memorable theme tracks to accompany the sporting extravaganza.

But there have been several standouts. And to get into the Olympic spirit, we've selected the best songs about the Games to date.

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Barcelona 1992: Barcelona – Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé

Despite its 1987 release, the collaboration between Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé was the (unofficial) anthem of the 1992 Olympics. Merging rock, opera and pop, the song was the biggest hit of Mercury's solo career.

Seoul 1988: One Moment in Time – Whitney Houston

This is probably the best-known song on the list, and it’s a no-brainer. The 1988 Olympic anthem captured the feeling of unity at the time, and made it to the top five of the US Billboard charts that year.

Seoul 1988: Hand in Hand – Koreana

The Seoul Games in 1988 were really special. For the first time, they enjoyed simultaneous participation by the United States, the Soviet Union and West Germany, and featured not just one, but two iconic songs. Just like Whitney Houston's, this song sends an upbeat message of unity, heralding the end of the Cold War.

Atlanta 1996: The Power of the Dream – Celine Dion

With Celine Dion’s legendary performance at the opening ceremony of the Atlanta Games, we couldn’t leave this song off our list. The Canadian artist performed to more than 100,000 people at the stadium and more than 3.5 billion viewers watched it live on television.

Athens 2004: Oceania – Björk

The Olympic committee stunned the world by asking Björk to compose the anthem for the Athens Olympics. And she did not disappoint. The Icelandic singer stole the show at the opening of the 2004 Games with a beautiful performance. The song, specially composed for the Olympics, was written from the point of view of the ocean, according to Björk. In an interview given in 2004, the singer said: “[The ocean] does not see borders, different races or religions that have always been at the heart of these [Games]”.