The Rio Olympics are already nearing their end. Team USA conquered gymnastics, swept many of the swimming events, and turned out for track and field. Stars like Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglas, and Allyson Felix returned to defend their medals, while new talents like gymnast Simone Biles and swimmer Katie Ledecky (who swam just one event back in London, compared to five in Rio) dominated their events. Ryan Lochte has already fled back to American shores. All of this is to say, it gives the athletes of Team USA pretty good grounds to sing "We Are the Champions" with great gusto, because, well, they earned it.
On the Olympic podium, the winning athletes are crowned with gold to the tune of their own national anthems. "We Are the Champions" is certainly an anthem by the musical definition, all empowering chorus and big musical swell. But in the hands of Olympians like Gabby Douglas and Allyson Felix, it gets a more humorous, irreverent treatment than the kinds of anthems sung at Rio as they stumble their way through Freddie Mercury's lyrics.
"I have to sing it?" Douglas says with a hint of a grimace at the video's outset. Swimmer Elizabeth Beisel echoes this — "You don't want me to sing it, right?" she asks incredulously. But sing they do, launching into the Queen song with verve. Jumping into a pool or stepping onto a gym mat with the best athletes from around the world doesn't seem to faze them; still, lyrical improv could prove to be their biggest challenge yet.
The video also features contributions from water polo player Tony Azevedo, basketball star Sue Bird, and track and field athlete Dawn Harper Nelson, as well as many others. It's a fitting homage to a team who went out and did what they do best: taking home the gold. They're not singers, but they definitely have the range.
Meet the stars of Team USA: