7 unforgettable performances at the Olympics

A look at some artists who brought game to the Games.

February 9, 2018

The 2018 Winter Olympics are officially here, and with it came a deliberate show of unity from the two Koreas — alongside influential Korean artists such as Guckkasten and Bolbbalgan4 . While we anticipate the way the Olympic stage has the capacity to give regional artists an international spotlight, for now, we’ve decided to dig up our top music moments from past Olympics.

By our astute calculations, most of the artists that perform at the Olympics are destined (or have already reached) supreme stardom, which may be an unorthodox but effective recipe for success.


Let’s start with the official song of the 2012 London Olympics, “Survival” courtesy of British rockers, Muse. The song, which gives much reference to winning, never losing and pushing to survive, was brilliantly executed live—an ideal way to close out the event. Matt Bellamy’s distinctive vocals amidst classical choir harmonies, the guitar work and solos, the fire, the spectacle inside the stadium—we just wish we were there to feel the goosebumps.


Spice Girls

Also closing out the 2012 games was this iconic girl band, who made quite the entrance, arriving in bright hologram cabs.  They performed “Wannabe” and “Spice Up Your Life” while Olympians bounced to their nostalgic memories. Now with the recent news of a 2018 comeback tour, said to include the full roster (yes, that means Victoria), watching this reunion show gets us all the more excited for some British positivity this year.

Love my girls!!! So many kisses!!! X Exciting x #friendshipneverends #girlpower

A post shared by Victoria Beckham (@victoriabeckham) on

Dizzie Rascal

Dizzie Rascal put on the best house party for the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Flashing text messages were projected inside a massive audiovisual screen, delivering a big time party memo. People were stoked on Danny Boyle’s energetic production while the UK grime MC doled out punchy lines and rhymes from his uber jam “Bonkers.” How can this moment not get you going?

Nelly Furtado

We love Nelly Furtado. We will continue to love Nelly Furtado; heck we even selected her new album as one of our favourites from 2017. We also loved her at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. It might have been four years since the release of her dynamite album, Loose, but when the Victoria, B.C. native took the stage alongside Bryan Adams to perform “Bang the Drum,” it was like she never left the spotlight. This was also the year that Canada brought home the most gold medals and we’re thanking Nelly for that.

Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé

This video is from a live 1988 performance.

Could there be a more fitting ode to a city than one with its own name as the title, sung by Freddie Mercury and opera singer Montserrat Caballé? The performance of “Barcelona,” captured in 1988, was re-issued for the 1992 Olympic Games hosted in the eponymous city— unfortunately it couldn’t be performed live at those due to the passing of the Queen frontman a year prior.


This was the start of “Oceania,” which would end up being nominated for a Grammy and remains one of the Icelandic singer’s most recognizable tracks to date. The song came to be after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) asked Björk to write a something for the 2004 games in Athens. So she did. The performance was breathtaking, complete with a parachute of purple silk and tapestry washing over her powerful voice and artistry. If there’s anyone who can keep you watching, even if you don’t know why, it’s Björk.

Kylie Minogue

Remember that love we have for Nelly Furtado? That goes towards this unforgettable Aussie too. Kylie Minogue’s music is infectious; it’s dance pop; it’s lively; it’s just fun. This is probably why her performance of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney feels so right to replay over and over again. This was the height of pop music and Minogue was definitely a frontrunner in the genre. Talk about vocal pipes and a stage presence.


Exclusive videos, interviews, contests & more.

sign up for the a.side newsletter

sign up