A complete list of every song ever sung at an Olympics since 1896
Do you love Olympic theme songs? If so, then you’ll want to read this list!
There’s no denying that the Olympics are one of the most significant sporting events in the world. And there’s also no denying that every country has its unique song that they sing during the games.
This article will give you a complete list of every song ever sung at the Olympics.
But first, let’s talk about what makes a great Olympic theme song.
What Makes a Great Olympic Theme Song?
When it comes down to creating a theme song for an event like an Olympics, there are only two things you need to focus on:
1) What is your audience going to enjoy hearing?
2) What does your audience already know?
The best Olympic theme songs have something special about them. They’re catchy and fun but not cheesy or annoying.
They can be patriotic, nationalistic, religious, or just plain silly. But most importantly, they always capture the spirit of the Olympics.
And that’s what we’re looking for here today. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite Olympic theme songs from around the world.
In 1896, a group of Frenchmen decided to do something different when it came time to select a song for the Paris Games. Instead of using traditional music, they chose a new genre called “Sports Anthem. “These were songs explicitly designed to help athletes compete better by giving them inspiration and motivation.
The first official anthem was performed live as part of the opening ceremony. It was called La Marseillaise.
La Marseillaise By 1894, the original version had been adopted as France’s national anthem.
It was written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, inspired after watching military maneuvers with Napoleon III.
Rouget de Lisle wrote the lyrics while he watched the soldiers march past him. The music was composed by Francis Gounod.
La Marseillais became very popular across Europe and eventually spread all over the globe.
It’s still used today in many countries as the official national anthem. It’s currently being played at the end of ceremonies in Rio 2016.During the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, the Netherlands produced its first national anthem.
“The Wilhelmus,” which means “the William,” was written by Dutch poet Jan Pieterszoon Coen in 1638.The song helped the Dutch win the right to colonize New Netherland.
It was later adopted as the unofficial national anthem of the United States.
During the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Germany produced its first full-length opera.
Written by German composer Carl Loewe, Deutschlandlied was performed in 1925.
After World War II, it became the national anthem of East Germany.
Germany didn’t produce another national anthem until 1990. Its current national anthem, known as DieFahne Hoch, was written by Paul Gerhardt.
Die Fahne Hoch
At the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland created its first ocial national anthem.
The Swiss selected the music and lyrics for the song, “Lied der Alpenkönige.”It was written by Hans Riegel and translated into English by Michael Sennott.
Switzerland would go on to host 1952, 1964, 1976, and 1980 Winter Olympics. At those four events, Switzerland’s official anthem was performed live.
Since 1992, however, the nation has changed its official anthem. For these games, the country commissioned a new song called Land of Mountains.
Land of Mountains
As for other Olympic themes songs, Denmark introduced its second national anthem in 1928.
Danse Konges medaljen
This song was composed by Danish composer Svend Grundtvig. It was officially adopted in 1932.
Denmark hasn’t produced another theme song since then. However, it did perform a medley of hits two national anthems during the 2012 London Olympics.
Mariana Pajón is a Mexican singer who sang at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. She recorded several songs during her career, but this one remains her most famous.
In 1972, María José released her debut album, Canciones para un Tomate.
The title track, “María José,” won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1973.One year later, she released her second album, Alma Mía. This song also won the Grammy, becoming the first Latin American artist to win a Grammy.
Puerto Rico picked up where Mexico left off in 1988. During that Olympics, Puerto Rican singers RenéMarqués and Olga Tañon released their versions of the theme song.
Por Qué Te Va Gustar
Both Olga Tañon and René Marqués have continued to record theme songs throughout their careers.
However, none of them have reached the same level of success as their initial hits.
Brazilian singers Rita Lee and Lô Borges recorded versions of the theme song during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Rita Lee & Lô Borges – Por Que Me Querias
Maria Bethânia performed another Brazilian version of the theme song during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Maria Bethânia – O Tempo e o Vento
For the 2004 Athens Olympics, Brazil once again went with a duo. This time, it was Chico Buarque andGilberto Gil singing “Samba do Avião.”
Gilberto Gil & Chico Buarque – Samba de Avião
During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China produced its first patriotic anthem.
Performed by Wang Fei and Yang Peiyi, the song was released as part of the soundtrack to the movie Iron Man 2.While some people might be surprised to learn that the US doesn’t have a theme song, they might not be as shocked that Canada does not either.
Canada’s National Anthem
The Canadian government decided against having a national anthem because Canadians already had enough music to choose from.
Besides, the country didn’t want to create any more competition for the Olympics. So, the decision was made just to let the athletes sing whatever they wanted.
That said, there are a few notable exceptions.
Canadian singer Anne Murray recorded a version of Lord Invader’s hit single, “500 Miles,” during the1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Anne Murray – 500 Miles
And Canadian rock band Rush recorded a cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.”
Neil Young – Heart of Gold
We’ll leave you now with the United States’ theme song, written by John Denver and performed by him during his performance as part of the opening ceremonies.
John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Roads
This is the collection of Olympic-themed videos featuring popular songs performed at the Olympics.
Enjoy! We believe that all nations should unite in peace when celebrating past, present, and future successes.