Olympic Battle Hymns

I'm one of those nerds who gets really excited for the Olympics, not in the least bit because as a former flipper, I'm proud to see gymnastics in the spotlight, even if people only seem to care about the li'l tumblers every four years. But it's not just about any specific sport. It's the whole grandiose event, the idea of individuals -- from the shiniest gyms in the U.S.A. to the tiniest villages in Africa -- sweating their asses off day in and day out, sacrificing careers, relationships, money and sleep, pulling muscles, tearing ligaments, breaking bones, exhausting every bit of their emotional and mental capacities just for this one opportunity for glory, redemption and respect -- without, for many, getting any sort of monetary reward for their efforts.

So, here's my tribute to the athletes competing in the 2012 Olympics. This playlist leans heavily on British artists, not just because the Games of the XXX Olympiad are being held in London, England, but because the Brits simply have a way with redemptive, explosive, gut-busting anthems worthy of Olympic-sized glory. Art-rock roof-blowers Muse were commissioned to write the official song for the Games, so their track "Survival" is included here (even though they've got much better victorious epics in their repertoire). Obvious inclusions like The Clash, Blur, Sabbath, The Sex Pistols and Queen are all represented too, alongside some across-the-pond hip-hop, rock, metal and Rage. London's calling ... best of luck to you all.

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