“The Champion,” Carrie Underwood’s collaboration with Ludacris, is just the kind of chest-thumping banger to be tailor-made for sporting events. But as the new music video for the song illustrates, the feel-good anthem has a much more universal message behind it.
Written by Underwood and Ludacris along with Brett James and Chris DeStefano, “The Champion” was used for the Super Bowl LII broadcast on NBC last month, before also being incorporated into the network’s recent Winter Olympics coverage. The montage video, directed by Jimmy Lynch, draws on plenty of notable sports images, from the Olympics to NASCAR racing to the Nashville Predators of the NHL – a personal touch, as those clips include Underwood’s husband, Mike Fisher.
There’s another message beyond the pump-you-up braggadocio of professional sports, however. The song’s lyrics could just as easily refer to the life of a musician, and Lynch’s video incorporates plenty of moments from Underwood’s own life, from childhood photos of her as an aspiring performer to behind-the-scenes footage of her in the recording studio. “The Champion” also highlights many different moments of perseverance and triumph, from Special Olympics athletes to educators, as well as more politically charged shots of the civil rights movement and the World Trade Center, timed to the line, “They knock me down, I get up again.”
Earlier this week, Underwood received two nominations for the 2018 ACM Awards, including Female Vocalist of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year for her song “The Fighter” with Keith Urban.