19th Asian Games / Whats New

Music brings back memories of iconic sporting events

By YUAN SHENGGAO | China Daily | Updated:2020-06-30



Music and sports are natural complements to one another, just as a piece of cheese is to a glass of good wine. For an international sports event, its organizers always strive to mix music and sports to get the best out of the two sides, inspiring both music and sports fans from around the world.

Everyone knows the classic foot-stomping and hand-clapping Queen chant We Will Rock You at NBA games, the World Cup anthem La Copa De La Vida from 1998, and the soothing theme song You and Me from the Bird's Nest in Beijing 12 years ago.

Almost all sports events around the world have their own music, inspiring or comforting, to rev up the crowd and inspire the athletes.

Seemingly belonging to two different worlds, sports and music can actually meet in unexpected ways, according to Xu Jianqiang, a professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music.

"Music is played around the globe at all large gatherings of people, especially sports events," Xu noted. "There is an inherent connection between music and sport. Music is able to present without spoken words, the strength, inspiration and impetus of the athletes, and share that with everyone."

La Copa de la Vida, or The Cup of Life in English, the official song of the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, is one of the most popular World Cup anthems of all time.

Ricky Martin, a Puerto Rican singer who won great fame due to the song, hailed it as "a unique opportunity to introduce the charms of Latin music to the rest of the world", when deciding to accept the invitation from FIFA to create the theme song of the soccer tournament.

"I have to admit that the challenge made me a bit nervous, but the massive growth potential for my career was such that I decided to accept," Martin wrote about the call in his official biography Me.

The song became an instant hit worldwide, topping music charts in more than 60 countries at that time and has been closely intertwined with soccer ever since.

Today, the lyrics and music in the song are still reminiscent of the soccer players' unyielding pursuit of victory and the excitement and surprise of fierce competition.

Asian Mighty Winds, a promotional song for the 11th Asian Games in Beijing which showcased the hardworking and unyielding spirit of the Asian people as well as their friendship in catchy lyrics and vigorous rhythms, is another good example of music's inspiring role.

Performed by Chinese pop singers Liu Huan and Wei Wei, the song is still appealing today with a far-reaching influence on people living on the continent.

"Every event needs its own theme song," Xu said. "Today when we look back we will find some folk music flavor from Northwestern China in the song Asian Mighty Winds." Chen Weiya, a famous Chinese director who was in charge of the opening and closing ceremonies of Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010, said though Asian Mighty Winds was not the theme song of Beijing Asian Games, it is the most unforgettable musical work related to the quadrennial continental sports event for Chinese people, even after so many years.


A musical performance is on stage during the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee's campaign to solicit musical works for the sports event.CHINA DAILY

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