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Olympic themes: the best and worst of Summer Games songs

How does the London 2012 theme shape up to those of yester-Olympics?

Image: Stephen Pond/PA Wire

WHAT MAKES A great Olympics theme track? Is it the slow build, the dramatic crescendo?  A limb-pumping beat?

One week into the London 2012 Summer Games, we’ve taken a look back over the highlights – and lowlights – of Olympic themes through the years to bring you this shortlist of the best and worst. (Cue archive footage of Olympians struggling and celebrating through the years.)

The good…

1992 – Barcelona

This one will get those back-of-neck hairs standing. Freddy Mercury and Montserrat Caballé’s duet, Barcelona, was (suitably) selected as the Olympic tune shortly after the Queen frontman’s death in 1991:

YouTube credit: QueenVEVO

1988 – Seoul

Another Olympic (and pop) classic featuring the late Whitney Houston. Written by John Bettis and Albert Hammond, One Moment in Time captures the final push for sporting greatness – and the crucial moment that decides the winners from the runners-up:

YouTube credit: WhitneyHoustonVEVO

2004 – Athens

Does Bjork’s Oceania have anything to do with sport? We’ve no idea – but she gave a spellbinding performance of the track at the closing of the Athens Olympics in 2004:

YouTube credit:

The bad…

1996 -Atlanta

Cuban singer Gloria Estafan we remember – but not her Olympic track, Reach. The tracked, penned by Estefan and Diane Warren, was the central track for the closing ceremony of the Atlanta Olympics in the US. Ring any bells?

YouTube credit:

1996 – Atlanta

Meanwhile, it was Canadian pop diva Celine Dion who sang the Atlanta Games’ opening number – The Power of the Dream. Babyface was part of the writing team behind the track:

YouTube credit:

And the latest…

2012 – London

After much speculation and rumour, Muse’s Survival was selected as the official track for the London 2012 Games. But what do you think of it? Does it rank among the best of Olympic tunes – or is the ‘survival’ theme a bit off for an Olympic track?

YouTube credit: IOCMedia

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