Pump-up tracks: Canadian Olympic athletes reveal the songs that get them in the zone

From new Taylor Swift to old-school Cypress Hill, find out what music inspires Canada's elite competitors.

From new Taylor Swift to old-school Cypress Hill, find out what music inspires Canada's elite competitors.

Simon d'Artois is bound for Pyeongchang — and uses old-school Cypress Hill to get pumped up. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games are kicking off in Pyeongchang, and Canadian athletes from coast to coast are flocking to the South Korean city to compete against many of the world's greatest athletes.

But before they hit the ice and the slopes, there was one key question we needed answered: What song do they listen to when they need to get pumped up?

Their answers range from brand new pop to classic hip-hop, and there are some serious surprises. Check them out:

Canadian biathlete Rosanna Crawford was named to her third Olympic Games on Tuesday. (Matthias Schrader/Associated Press)

Athlete: Rosanna Crawford
Age: 29
Hometown: Canmore, Alberta
Residence: Canmore, Alberta
Event: Biathlon
Song: Taylor Swift, "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things"
"I'm a huge fan of Taylor Swift, so pretty much her new album has been my pump up album this whole season," says Crawford. "But I really love 'This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things.'"

Canada's Eric Radford and Meagan Duhamel, like all the Olympic pairs, will have to create a standout moment on the ice in order to win the event. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Athlete: Eric Radford 
Age: 33
Hometown: Balmertown, Ontario
Residence: Montreal, Quebec
Event: Figure Skating
Song: Robin Schulz, "Shed a Light"
"For the last four weeks I have been listening to 'Shed a Light' by Robin Schulz every day to get me pumped up for my training sessions. I love the energy. I love the rhythm. I like the lyrics. And it combines some orchestral elements. There are a lot of strings in it which I love, and it all comes together and gives me energy and pumps me up," says Radford. "And I play it on speakers, so everyone who is there with me has to put up with it too."

Canada's Nathan Smith and Julia Ransom at the biathlon World Cup held at the Canmore Nordic Centre in Alberta. (Mike Ridewood/The Canadian Press)

Athlete: Julia Ransom
Age: 24
Hometown: Kelowna, British Columbia
Residence: Canmore, Alberta
Event: Biathlon
Song: Caravan Place, "Black Betty" 

Biathlete Brendan Green at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.

Athlete: Brendan Green
Age: 31
Hometown: Hay River, Northwest Territories
Residence: Canmore, Alberta
Event: Biathlon
Song: AJR, "Sober Up"
"I just heard it on the radio the other day and I don't know, there's something about the beat," says Green. "I'm feeling it."

Sébastien Toutant is a snowboarder from Repentigny, Quebec. (Pondella)

Athlete: Sébastien Toutant
Age: 25
Hometown: L'Assomption, Quebec
Residence: Repentigny, Quebec
Event: Snowboard
Song: Drake, "God's Plan"
"I'm a really big fan of hip-hop," says Toutant. "And one of my favourite songs right now is the new Drake song 'God's Plan.'"

Star B.C. freestyle skier Cassie Sharpe listens to her pump-up song while she competes. (Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Athlete: Cassie Sharpe
Age: 25
Hometown: Comox, British Columbia
Residence: North Vancouver, British Columbia
Event: Freestyle Skiing
Song: M.O.P., "Ante Up"
"Every year it kind of changes," says Sharpe. "I've always got the one song that fires me up for the year and it's the one song that I'll click into right before I drop. And this year it's a throwback to the '90s — 'Ante Up' by M.O.P. It's a rap song — pretty good beat, kind of fires me up and blocks out all the other noise so it's good. 

"I don't like hearing the announcer, and in the halfpipe you've got speakers all the way down," says Sharpe, who wears earphones as she competes. "If you didn't have them you're hearing them call your tricks or hearing them talk about you while you're skiing. And I can't do that. If I heard them I wouldn't be in my zone. So it really keeps me focused and keeps me in my own space."

Canada's Noah Bowman, pictured competing at the Sochi Olympics, is a fan of Shakey Graves. (Sergey Ilnitsky/EPA)

Athlete: Noah Bowman
Age: 25
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
Residence: Calgary, Alberta
Event: Men's Halfpipe
Song: Shakey Graves, "If Not For You"

Evan McEachran is an Ontario freestyle skier who is Olympics-bound for the first time. (Instagram)

Athlete: Evan McEachran
Age: 20
Hometown: Oakville, Ontario
Residence: Oakville, Ontario
Event: Freestyle Skiing
Song: Grits, "My Life Be Like (Ooh Aah)"
"It's a song from one of my favorite ski movies from back in the day," says McEachran, "and it just makes me grateful for being out here doing the same thing I was watching."

When he needs to get pumped up, Canadian athlete Simon d'Artois goes for old-school Cypress Hill. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Athlete: Simon D'Artois
Age: 26
Hometown: Whistler, British Columbia
Residence: Whistler, British Columbia
Event: Freestyle Skiing
Song: Cypress Hill, "Insane in the Brain"

Find all of CBC's Olympic coverage here, and follow @cbcolympics on Twitter.


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