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Olympic theme songs through the decades

This image is copyrighted by It is believed that the use of this image qualifies as fair use under Philippines copyright law.The theme songs accompanying a universal sporting event like the Olympics should be uplifting and inspirational. A successful theme song should resonate with the spirit of participation, competition, friendship and mutual understanding.
The Official Olympic Songs from 1976 to 2008 have touched the hearts of all listeners. An Olympic song tends to evoke the glory of the Olympic Games especially when it is sung during the Opening or Closing Ceremonies.

Looking back at the official songs of the past Games, we could actually see which song really made an impact and has become widely popular like the Seoul Olympics theme song "Hand in Hand."

Jeff Z. Klein of the New York Times presented the official Olympic songs in the past up to the present which gave significant impression on Olympic spirit: We did some more research and came up with these:

Montreal (1976) - “Bienvenue à Montréal” is the official theme song of the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada. It was performed by then 15-year old Rene Simard during the Montreal Olympics. Simard may have become a sensation in France, Japan and Quebec but the Olympic song didn't give him much credit and was actually considered a flop.

Moscow (1980) - “Olimpiada” by David Tukhmanov was sung by Tõnis Mägi (pronounced in English as Tinis Myagi), a popular Estonian singer, at the All-Union Song Festival during the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Los Angeles (1984) - “Reach Out”, performed by Paul Engemann, is the official theme song of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. This song was written by Giorgio Moroder, a well-known composer of anthems for big sports events like the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the 1990 World Cup.

Seoul (1988) - "Hand in Hand", the official Olympic song of the 1988 Seoul Olympics was performed by Koreana, a four-member group. Since its release, it has been a popular tune in the whole of East Asia, and has become a popular song for graduation exercises in the Philippines.

Barcelona (1992) - “Barcelona” was composed by Freddie Mercury. He composed this song as soon as Barcelona was selected for the Olympic city. He was supposed to perform the song with Montserrat Caballé, an operatic soprano but due to his death a year before the Olympics, the song was played over a travelogue of the city instead at the opening ceremony.

Atlanta (1996)"Reach", the Official theme song of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics was performed by Gloria Estefan, a famous Latin-American singer. "Reach" was written by Estefan and hit-producing songwriter Diane Warren. This song has been nominated at the Grammy awards and the Spanish version, "Puedes Llegar" was sung by well-known artists like Julio Iglesias, Placido Domingo and Ricky Martin.

Sydney (2000) - “The Flame”, composed by John Foreman, was performed by Tina Arena and the Sydney Children's Choir during the opening ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Athens (2004) - "Oceania" is the official theme song of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece and was composed by Björk, a popular Icelandic singer-songwriter. She performed in front of 70,000 spectators at the Greek Capital's new Olympic Stadium at the four-hour opening ceremony, which was televised worldwide. During her performance, Björk’s dress slowly spread out to form a 10,000-square-foot map of the world.

Beijing (2008) - According to an article from, nobody knew what the official theme song of the Games would be until last August 08, 2008, when the official Beijing Olympics 2008 theme song was disclosed and sung for the first time in public during the Olympics opening ceremonies. The song was "You and Me," by Chinese singer Liu Huan and British singer Sarah Brightman. Liu Huan, 45, is one of the most popular male pop singers in China, while Sarah Brightman, 48, is a world famous soprano who is also an actress, song writer and dancer.

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