A Look Back at Who Wrote the Olympic Theme Song


If you’ve tuned into a broadcast of the Olympics in the past 25 years, you certainly have heard the famous theme song that goes with the Games.

But do you know the history behind the iconic timpani solo followed by the trumpet and brass fanfare? Or when the song made its Olympic debut? Here we look back at the Olympic theme song:

What is the Olympic Theme Song?

The iconic Olympic theme song is a combination of two pieces.

The first 45 seconds of the famous piece features “Bugler’s Dream” followed by “Olympic Fanfare and Theme”.

Who wrote the Olympic Theme Song?

“Bugler’s Dream” was written by Leo Arnaud while “Olympic Fan Fare and Theme” was written by John Williams.

Arnaud, who died in 1991 at the age of 86, was a French American composer of film scores. 

Williams, who is currently 90 years old, is an American composer, conductor and pianist. He has won 25 Grammy Awards and is recognized as one of the greatest composers of film score in history. 

When was the Olympic theme song first played? 

The Olympic theme song was first broadcasted by NBC at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta — the first games to be hosted in the United States since 1984.

In 1963, the theme song was solely Arnaud’s “Bugler’s Dream”, which he composed in 1958. 

It wasn’t until the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles that Williams’ “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” became part of the famous theme song.

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