Olympic Theme Song Penned by George Mason Student

Posted: February 8, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Michelle Nery

Karin Hendrickson is an Olympic star even before the games begin. Hendrickson, a graduate music student at George Mason, wrote the words and music to the Olympic torch relay theme song, “Carry the Flame,” for this year’s Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The song made its debut at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park and was played in 110 community celebrations along the 46-state torch relay route. Aretha Franklin recorded the song, which will be played as the torch is carried into Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium in Salt Lake City tonight for the opening ceremonies.

“The song traces the story of a small child dreaming about being an Olympian,” says Hendrickson, “and that the ability to be an Olympian isn’t a result of standing on a podium, but is already possible because of what is inside each of us.”


Hendrickson was inspired to write the chorus by U.S. figure skaters Paul Wylie and Nancy Kerrigan during the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. She completed the song six years later while preparing original songs for studio production.

Hendrickson admits that the song also holds a more personal meaning. An avid basketball player throughout high school and college, she reached a point where she needed to move away from sports. “It was hard to let basketball go,” she says. “Much of this song comes from sitting down and coming to terms with having to give it up. I realized that even if I wasn’t a superstar basketball player, I could still find a way to inspire other people.”

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