This empowering anthem was written for the Super Bowl by Carrie Underwood with Brett James and Chris DeStefano.
I am invincible, unbreakable, unstoppable, unshakable
They knock me down, I get up again
I am the champion, you're gonna know my name
"When we were writing 'The Champion,' our main focus was to celebrate athletes at the top of their game, but we also wanted the song to resonate with people in their everyday lives," Underwood explained. "We hope the lyrics will inspire people to push themselves beyond their limits to conquer anything they are trying to accomplish or overcome. There's a champion in every single one of us!"
The song features a verse by Ludacris, who spells out the word champion during his rap break. Underwood explained:
"Ludacris came into the picture when we were writing this song 'The Champion,' we left a space in it for a potential guest appearance, a potential feature. And we went 'round and 'round about who do we approach, who do we ask, and in my mind, the style of the song with somebody that had his own thing, had a kind of legend status. I wanted something big. I wanted an artist that matched the song, and Ludacris, everything about him just seemed to scream 'Champion' to me, and he was just so great.
And so we sent him everything and he put his part on it, and when we got it back, I thought, 'Holy Cow! This took it to a whole new level.' So, I think he was just that piece of the puzzle that was missing, and from the second that I heard it, I was like that was exactly the perfect person to be a part of this. Like I could never imagine anybody else being a part of this, and he just, again, took it to another level."
After hearing "The Champion", NBC Sports decided to incorporate the tune into its coverage of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Underwood said:
"We were asked to come up with something special for the Super Bowl. We knew we wanted the open to be as grand as the Super Bowl is, so I was really excited that NBC and Sunday Night Football kind of gave us control to be creative and go in and see what we could do.
We spent a couple of days – we being me, Brett James and Chris DeStefano who I've written with both of those guys quite a bit – we went in and just gave it our all trying to figure out what would best set up something as amazing as the Super Bowl. After we turned it in, they loved it so much [that] we were told, 'The Olympics are gonna want this!' So, that was just more incredible news because it certainly fits everything that the Super Bowl stands for as well."
Underwood gave a preview of the song to her husband Mike Fisher, who played with NHL team the Nashville Predators before retiring in 2017. "My husband loved it," Underwood told Variety. "He would listen to it before playoff games. He was like 'I want everyone to hear it!' and I had to tell him, 'You can't do that. You can't play it in the locker room. I'm sorry.' But that was a good indicator that we were on the right track."
Underwood recalled how she and the song's co-writers Brett James and Chris DeStefano researched great sports speeches for inspiration before writing the track.
"We started looking up great speeches, great sports speeches, great movies about sports. Those things that when you're in the theater, you're getting chill bumps when some coach is giving his team this amazing speech, and that's what we wanted to put into a song," she explained. "We wanted it to be something that people could listen to when they're in the gym, or before they watch the Super Bowl, or something that would work for this but also work for people in their everyday lives and just inspire and make them feel like they were ready for anything."
Carrie Underwood's own champions include her mom and dad and her husband, Mike Fisher. "I think it started with my parents, they just worked really hard and did everything they could to provide for us and make our lives better and give us every opportunity that they could," she said.
"In a different sense, you know my husband, on and off the ice, he's definitely a champion of mine," Underwood continued. "I see the dedication that he put into his work playing hockey. I admire him so much for that. To see how much he put into, and the love, that he put into his God-given ability was just very inspiring."