When Celine Dion powered through pain to perform rousing rendition of 'The Power Of The Dream'

25 October 2021, 12:12

Céline Dion sang through the pain barrier during her Olympic opening ceremony performance.
Céline Dion sang through the pain barrier during her Olympic opening ceremony performance. Picture: Getty

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and in pain, Céline Dion put in an Olympian effort to sing through the event's official song at the opening ceremony.

Céline Dion had broken through to English-speaking audiences only several years before the Olympic Games took place in Atlanta in 1996.

But that didn't stop the event's officials from choosing her to sing the official anthem for the games, 'The Power Of The Dream'.

And we can only thank them for making the decision to put Céline front and centre at the opening ceremony.

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It became a moment that truly put her on the map and made her a household name across the world.

But despite her incredible, seemingly effortless performance, it was in fact anything but for Céline.

As the performance begins in a warm, intimate fashion with the camera zooming in on just Céline, her impeccable voice sounds as though it's pre-recorded. It's that good.

But as the camera pulls back, revealing a supporting choir and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra befitting the grandiose ceremony, the strength of her natural voice begins to shine through.

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Little did we know, or would Céline show, that she was in a huge amount of discomfort.

She later revealed in her autobiography My Story, My Dream that she was dealing with chest pains throughout the entire song.

Céline Dion's performance at Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta was one of greatest in the event's illustrious history.
Céline Dion's performance at Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta was one of greatest in the event's illustrious history. Picture: Getty

Céline revealed long after the performance took place that she believed she was about to succumb to a heart attack.

Nevertheless, she powered through the song, performing to 100,000 people within the stadium and inspiring an estimated three and a half billion television viewers around the world.

Straight after the performance ended however, she collapsed backstage. She put her body on the line for her fans and her passion was evident.

Read more: Céline Dion “heartbroken” as she cancels concerts due to "severe" injury

Céline was clearly at the peak of her powers and had a point to prove, but nowadays she takes far better care of herself given the recent cancellation of her upcoming tour dates due to injury.

Céline Dion's inspirational performance of 'The Power Of The Dream' is widely considered to be one of the best in Olympic opening ceremony history. (Photo by Franck Seguin/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
Céline Dion's inspirational performance of 'The Power Of The Dream' is widely considered to be one of the best in Olympic opening ceremony history. (Photo by Franck Seguin/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images). Picture: Getty

It was a true powerhouse performance from a titanic singer of our time, one that may have not gone ahead had she not been so gutsy.

Dion, who always donated her entire fee for singing 'The Power Of The Dream' to Canadian athletes, went on to become one of the biggest selling artists of the decade.

Read more: Adele says piece of Céline Dion's used chewing gum is her "proudest possession"

But if there's one performance that defines her as an artist and a character, it's arguably this one.