7 Team USA Olympians Dish on Their Go-for-Gold Motivational Songs and the Artists They'd Want on Their Team

Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images
Katie Zaferes from United States celebrates after crossing first the finish line during the Elite Women's race on the ITU World Triathlon Hamburg on July 16, 2016 in Hamburg, Germany.  

Seven of the 555 Team USA athletes competing at the Rio Olympics starting Aug. 5 share the songs that will take them to the podium -- and the artists they would want on their team. 

Kassidy Cook Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Kassidy Cook

Artist who would make a great teammate: Taylor Swift. Who wouldn’t want to be in her squad?

Artist I’d most want to compete against: Kanye West. He has a very arrogant demeanor -- it would be cool to show him who’s boss (insert sunglasses emoji).

Song that defines my career:“Lose Yourself” by Eminem. He talks about succeeding despite all obstacles. Over the last four years I’ve endured many injuries that threatened to end my career, but I never gave up because I had a goal in my mind -- to compete in and win the Olympics.

Paige McPhersonHector Vivas/LatinContent/Getty Images

Paige McPherson

Artist I’d most like to compete against: Beyoncé. She’s a force to be reckoned with, and to be the best you have to compete with the best. I like to say I have an alter ego too: my McFierce side versus Sasha Fierce.

Song that defines my career: “Moment 4 Life” by Nicki Minaj, because I go to the ring with a balance of confidence and humility, knowing that I am blessed and with God anything is possible.


Katie ZaferesPablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Katie Zaferes

Pre- and post-training soundtrack: A mix of Tech N9ne, Taylor Swift, Lauren Daigle and Hillsong United. Something for every mood; I’m well-rounded.

Song that defines my career: The edited version of “Let’s Go” by Trick Daddy. It has been my go-to pump-up song from college at Syracuse to now, prepping for the Olympics!

Hans Struzyna​Courtesy of US Rowing

Hans Struzyna

Tunes while training: For any long workout, it’s Metallica with Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Black Sabbath and Guns N’ Roses mixed in.

Artist I'd most want to compete against: Snoop Dogg, because he would beat you and start rapping about it. He seems like he knows how to find a way to win, but has fun doing it.    

Charlie BuckinghamWill Ricketson/US Sailing Team Sperry

Charlie Buckingham

Artist I’d most want to compete against: Bono, for putting his music on my phone without my permission!

Artists that motivate: Metallica, Black Sabbath, Pantera. The lyrics get me amped.

Song that defines my career: “Never Say Die” by Black Sabbath. There are ups and downs to every athletic career and the key is to never give up, no matter what.

Kerry SimmondsCourtesy of US Rowing

Kerry Simmonds

Artist I’d most like to compete against: Taylor Swift. She seems like she’s scrappy and would get really into it, which is more fun. Plus, she would write a song about it.

Song that defines my career: “Started From the Bottom” by Drake. Going from college, where you’re the fastest, to the next level, where everyone’s bigger and faster, you don’t know if you’ll ever get here -- but I did.

Danny BarrettDavid Becker/Getty Images

Danny Barrett

Tunes while training: A mix of Kygo and Kygo-esque songs, and ’90s hip-hop. If it’s a heavy day, we get some Metallica or classic metal.

Artist who would make a great teammate: Nelly -- I saw him in The Longest Yard, and he’s got moves on the football field. Give him a bit of time training with us, and no doubt he would be a star!

This article originally appeared in the August 6 issue of Billboard.