The 22nd Olympic Winter Games ended in Sochi February 23. Like any memorable event, Sochi 2014 featured a varied soundtrack filled with stark contrasts. More than just the music of the opening ceremonies, many Olympians associated themselves with music.
The opening and closing ceremony featured Russian classical and popular music, already kicking off with some controversy. Some of the classically oriented pop selections were:
- Igor Stravinsky – ‘Rite Of Spring’ and ‘Firebird Suite.’
- Alexander Borodin – ‘Overture, Polovtsian Dances and March from ‘Prince Igor’.’ (Also recognizable as ‘Stranger In Paradise’ from the musical ‘Kismet.’
- Arkady Ostrovsky – ‘Trololo’ video version or 'Vocalise' live with orchestra.
- Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky – ‘Swan Lake’ selection.
- Sergei Prokofiev – ‘Waltz’ from ‘War And Peace’
As the games continued, the contrasts became progressively more varied and interesting. Going back to the early 1980s, Russia's participation in the Olympics has always garnered controversy, so more controversy doesn't come as a surprise. Here are a few more of Sochi's wacky tunes, starting with the another Russian pop tune.
- 'Not gonna get us' by t.A.T.u. reached Number 1 on the dance charts in the USA, and they were one of Russia's most popular groups ever. Considering Putin's recent stance on homosexuality, it's surprising that the song wasn't banned from the opening ceremony. Their other hit music video, 'All the things she said' features 15-year-olds Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova kissing passionately in the rain. The band initially thought they would be playing during the opening ceremony. This did not come to pass.
- Pussy Riot, 'Putin will teach you to love (the Motherland).' On February 19, members of the punk band Pussy Riot posted their music video. The band romped around Sochi filming themselves dancing with Sochi Games mascots, were held for questioning, and finally beaten by Russian Cossack police with whips. As superstar Russian athletes thanked their President Putin for putting on the Winter Games, it seemed the time was ripe for these riot girls to speak out. The video features English subtitles and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina who were released after 2 years in prison and recently appeared on The Colbert Report to bring attention to human rights issues in Russian prisons.
- 'The Bobsled Song' by Sidney Mills & Jon Notar for The Jamaica Bobsled Team was recently pulled from Youtube for violating International Olympic Committee guidelines for use of footage. It racked up 1.5 million views with its 8-bit video animation before it was pulled. Other people have posted the video, see it while it's up. You can still hear the song and read about all of the team's previous songs.
- 'My Way Is My Decision,' Tina Maze. The Slovenian skier's declaration in this music video shows that she doesn't let anything stand in her way if she can help it. Maze won gold medals in 2 out of 5 events she entered at the Sochi Games.
- 'Otherside,' J. R. Celski joined up with the Seattle hip-hop scene, featuring Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Olympic speedskater, Celski, turned to music to comfort himself while healing from injuries that caused him to wonder if he would ever skate again. He followed Macklemore's career and focused on Seattle's musicians, co-producing a documentary. In Sochi, Celski won a silver medal in the Short Track Speed Skating team relay competition.
- 'Get Lucky' by Daft Punk as sung by the Red Army Choir MVD. The Choir appeared during the opening ceremony, but the footage was not selected for US audiences to view. Check out their official video on their channel. It's not clear they have any idea what they are singing. The choir serve as Russian goodwill ambassadors of a sort, not that Pussy Riot would agree.
- 'Tribute' by Eric Radford. Composer and Olympian Eric Radford ice skated to his own composition for Team Canada with partner, Meagan Duhamel, something that they've been doing since 2013. Radford surprised home viewers who know little about the sport. Unbeknownst to many, he graduated from Canada's Royal Conservatory of Music.
- 'Higher Than Mars,' sung by Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe, skiing for Mexico in his 6th Olympic Games was the oldest man competing at the Olympics at 55 and declared most interesting man in the world. He's a Mexican-born German prince, photographer, and singer. One of many guys who did not finish the alpine skiing slalom course February 23, Hohenlohe concentrated his efforts on being the best dressed for Mexico in his mariachi charro ski suit. He also occupied his time before competing by stirring up controversy for a rique photo shoot with Lebanese skier, Jackie Chamoun.
- 'Caught Inside' by Bad Things. At the same time Shaun White's 3rd Olympics ended without medaling, his band, Bad Things, released their debut album. White serves as lead guitarist and has played the instrument for many years.
- Kate Hansen rocking out to Beyonce while warming up for her luge events garnered a Facebook post and some encouragement from Hansen's idol, Beyonce.
There were many other great musical moments. These are just the top ten. Please read more articles about the 2014 Sochi Olympics below.