Top 10 Best Olympic Theme Songs of All Time

The “One Moment in Time” song by legendary singer Whitney Houston is truly the best theme song in the Olympic Games. This song was released as the theme of the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The “Barcelona” anthem by Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe and the “Hand in Hand” theme by Koreana also deserve their mentions among the best Olympic theme songs of all time.

The Olympics is the biggest sporting event on the planet, with athletes coming in from all over the world to participate in the largest number of events. So for an event as big as this, it also deserves a theme song that should match its grandeur. And this article is a tribute to all the best Olympic theme songs of all time.

Best Olympic Theme Songs of All Time | 2024 Updates

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‘RISE’ by Katy Perry is the Rio Olympics song that year. Olympic theme songs are as awaited as the games themselves because these songs are inspirational and uplifting, which makes the athlete pumped up as they gear up to perform for their countries.

1. One Moment in Time (Whitney Houston)

One Moment in Time (Whitney Houston)

At number 1 in the best Olympic theme songs of all time is “One Moment in Time” by “Whitney Houston.” Whitney had a knack for making really soulful songs, and this is among the very best hit of her career.

The song was written for the 1988 Seoul Olympics by Albert Hammond and John Betis. The song perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the Olympics. Giving one’s all, facing the pain, and ultimately becoming “more than I thought I could be.”

Apart from the stellar lyrics, it’s the soulful and amazing vocals of Whitney that really made the song what it was. It reached number 5 on Billboard Top 100, and there has never been another song as appropriate for Olympics as this.

2. Barcelona (Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe)

Barcelona (Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe)

At number 2 in the best Olympic theme songs of all time is “Barcelona” by “Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe.” The song was a collaborative effort of Queen Vocalist Freddie Mercury and operatic soprano Monserrat Caballe. At its release, it was the biggest hit of Freddie’s solo career, reaching Number eight on the UK Singles Chart.

Though the song was released in 1987, it was later made the Olympic anthem in the 1992 Summer Olympics, and at that time, the track climbed higher, peaking at Number 2 In the UK, Netherlands, and New Zealand.

The song was a really unique one among all Olympic songs as it combined the worlds of opera, rock, and pop to deliver a song that is still remembered.

3. Hand in Hand (Koreana)

Hand in Hand (Koreana)

At number 3 in the best Olympic theme songs of all time is “Hand in Hand” by “Koreana.” This song surprised everyone when it first came out.

The official song for the 1988 Seoul Olympics was sung both in Korean and English and was produced by Giovanni Giorgio Moroder. The English lyrics were written by Tom Whitlock, and the Korean lyrics were written by Kim Moon-Hwan.

The song was aptly justified by the vocals and gusto of the Korean band Koreana. The song managed to top the music chart of 17 countries like Sweden, Spain, West Germany, Japan, Austria, etc., and the album even sold 12 million copies worldwide.

4. Power of the Dream (Celine Dion)

Power of the Dream (Celine Dion)

At number 4 in the top 10 best Olympic theme songs of all time is “Power of the Dream” by “Celine Dion.” Celine Dion is immortalized worldwide due to her song “My Heart will go on.”

Her powerful vocals, complemented by some really great music, have made her top charts many times, and in Power of the Dream, she does exactly that. She performed the song at the 1996 Summer Olympics in front of a crowd.

More than 100000 people, with more than 3.5 billion people worldwide who tuned in from their TV, heard her. This larynx-bursting power ballad easily makes itself one of the best Olympic songs of all time.

5. Someday (Flipsyde)

Someday (Flipsyde)

At number 5 in the best Olympic theme songs of all time is “Someday” by “Flipsyde.” Despite rappers always rapping about motivation, courage, and will to overcome obstacles all the time, all of which are the essence of the Olympics, it’s really surprising to see that when it comes to Olympics songs, they have largely been ignored.

But during the 2006 Winter Olympics, NBC released the song as the Olympic theme song, and it was great. The motivational lyrics about overcoming adversity, along with a bizarre but really great combination of rap and guitar, were spot on.

6. Bang the Drum (Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado)

Bang the Drum (Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado)

At number 6 in the best Olympic theme songs of all time is “Bang the Drum” by “Bryan Adams and Nelly Furtado.” When you listen to the song for the first time, you might not find it really special to make the cut for being the Olympic hymn.

And lyrics like “From the East/ From the West/ Each of us are trying our best” are also not lyrical masterpieces.

But the fact that it’s an upbeat song with a peppy drum solo and a really cheesy chorus about dreaming big has made it stand out. This 2010 Winter Olympics song was a welcome change from the usual somber songs that make it to the Olympic songs list.

7. Reach (Gloria Estefan)

Reach (Gloria Estefan)

At number 7 in the best Olympic theme songs of all time is “Reach” by “Gloria Estefan.” If we were talking about the most inspirational and motivating Olympics songs, then Reach, the Olympic theme for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, would probably find itself way higher on the list.

Because of its slow acoustic verses, tribal drums, pan pipes, and soaring melodies. The song touched something primal within, which induced hypnotism in the listener. Furthermore, Gloria’s ability to relate to the lyrics took the song to even greater heights.

8. Oceania (Bjork)

Oceania (Bjork)

At number 8 in awesome Olympic theme songs is “Oceania” by “Bjork.” 

This song was not everyone’s cup of tea and was actually the most bizarre and experimental Olympic Anthem.

The song also deals with the evolution of mankind from the perspective of the ocean. With great production values, Capella vocals, and beatboxing, the performance was magical from start to finish.

It was the official Olympic theme song, and also the opening ceremony performance of the 2004 Olympics was also never seen before as Bjork’s large dress unraveled into a map of the world that covered the entire stadium.

9. You and Me (Liu Huan and Sarah Brightman)

You and Me (Liu Huan and Sarah Brightman)

At number 9 in the top 10 Olympic theme songs to date is “You and me” by “Liu Huan and Sarah Brightman.” 

Song for the 2008 Beijing Olympic games, the theme followed the central idea of “One World, One Dream.” That was also the message of the Olympic Games.

French-Chinese composer Qigang Chen wrote this song. Besides, it became an instant hit as a delicate number that provided a great contrast to the glittering and extravagant opening ceremony. This one is a masterpiece on the best Olympic theme songs list.

10. Amigos Para Siempre (Sarah Brightman and Jose Carreras)

Amigos Para Siempre (Sarah Brightman and Jose Carreras)

At number 10 in the best Olympic theme songs is “Amigos Para Siempre” by “Sarah Brightman and Jose Carreras.” 

This Latin-flavored song which was the official song for the 1992 Olympics, has a vibe of musical melodrama and theatre.

The song was a treat for listeners due to Carreras’s booming tenor, Brightman’s excellent soprano, and a grandiose orchestral crescendo. Legendary composer Andrew Webber and lyricist Don Black created his brilliant anthem.

Besides, it has gathered great anticipation even before its release. It became a favorite of IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. And it was even played at his funeral in 2010.

Final Words

While there have been many official songs in Olympic History, most missed the mark when it came to nailing all the necessary criteria for being a worthy Olympic theme song. These songs are inarguably the best Olympic theme songs. Tell us about your favorite and best Olympic songs of all time in the comments down below.

Best Olympic Theme Songs | Infographics

best Olympic theme songs - infographics
Infographics: Best Olympic Theme Songs

FAQs Regarding Olympic Theme Songs

Q. What is the 2021 Olympic theme song?

The NBC Olympics have revived the “Roundball Rock” theme song for men’s and women’s basketball in Tokyo. The action starts with Team USA men playing France at ET live on Peacock. That got massive appreciation globally.

Q. Is there a theme song for the Olympics?

NBC has featured Williams’ 1984 piece more frequently in recent years, and it still stands as the standard by which all other Olympic music should be measured.

Q. Who lit the Olympic torch in 2021?

Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron during Friday’s opening ceremony, which kicked off the festivities. 206 nations entered the Olympic stadium in Tokyo for the traditional parade of nations, and more than 11,000 athletes will compete at the Games.

Q. Who sang Imagine Olympics opening ceremony in 2021?

A. At the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Friday (July 23), musicians from around the world performed John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Imagine.” Among them were John Legend and Keith Urban.

Last Updated On: July 2024

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