The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics is almost here. Be sure to learn some useful cheer phrases for your favorite teams! While the mood of cheering may be similar no matter where you are – chaos full of screaming and shouting, the language of cheering can be quite different from country to country.
In English, we say “Go!”, “Let’s go!”, “It’s gonna happen!” or “You can do it!” to cheer our team and say “Yeah!” when they are winning. But what if we want to chant for an international team? How do we cheer on athletes in different languages? What’s customary?
Below are the most common sports cheers in 5 languages as well as some fun cultural facts behind them. Read on and you’ll feel the passion!
Cheer on athletes in French
Allez is probably one of the most common French cheers you can hear. It’s like “Go!” or “Go for it!” in English. If you are watching Tour de France on the road, you can hear this expression all the time. Besides, “vas-y !” also has a similar meaning.
Allez les Bleus (Go the blues!)
If you want to watch the World Cup and cheer for the France team, be sure to learn this term! “Allez les Bleus” means “Go the blues!”. As French players mostly wear blue shirts, the color blue gradually becomes a symbol of the France team.
Bien joué ! (Good job!)
“Bien joué !” literally means “good job!” or “well done!” It can also be used to encourage others in your daily lives. Another common expression is “Tu peux le faire”, meaning “you can make it”.
Cheer on athletes in Spanish
Viva literally can sometimes be translated to “long live” in spanish. The word is from the Spanish verb vivir, which means to live. It can be also translated to hooray which doesn’t have an exact meaning. Viva is often paired with a country or a city’s name.
If you like watching sports on spot with fans cheering and singing, you must have heard of Spanish fans singing olé olé olé…Actually, the word olé came from the Greek ololigi to describe a “ritual cry”, which later became “olé” meaning “bravo”. Nowadays, this expression became so famous that you can hear it all over the world.
¡Vamos! (Let’s go)
Vamos is the conjugation form of the Spanish verb ir (go) when the subject is we. So it literally means “let’s go!”. Vamos is very commonly used for many situations including encouraging others generally. In sports, vamos is often paired with the name of the team. For example, “¡Vamos, vamos Chilenos!”
Cheer on athletes in Japanese
頑張って！(Try your best!)
The most famous Japanese cheer is probably 頑張って (Ganbatte). It came from the verb 頑張(がんば)る meaning to persist and to try one’s best. This expression can be used almost in any situation when you want to cheer someone on. Related expressions include “頑張(がんば)れ” (informal tone) and “頑張がんばってください” (formal tone).
あきらめないで！(Don’t give up!)
Another one is “あきらめないで!” , meaning “Don’t give up!”. It came from the verb “あきらめる” (to give up). While あきらめないで is a softer expression used more by female speakers, “あきらめるな” is a harder version used mostly by males.
XXXならできるよ！(You can do it!)
If you want to encourage someone, you can also say “君(きみ)ならできるよ！” or “あなたならできるよ！”, meaning “You can do it!”. You may also replace君(きみ) or あなた with someone’s name to make it more personal. For example, “マギーならできるよ” means “You can do it, Maggie!”
Cheer on athletes in Korean
It’s supposed to be the English word “fighting” but as there is no “f” sound in the Korean language, it became 파이팅[hwaiting]. Don’t try to pronounce it as the English word “fighting” because according to the official rules in South Korea, 파이팅 is the correct form. 화이팅 can be translated to “good luck!” or “Go!” and is one of the most commonly used cheering expressions in Korean. For example, “코리아 화이팅!” means “Go Korea!”
힘내세요! (Cheer up)
힘내세요 is equivalent to “cheer up” or “keep going” in English. While it’s not strictly related to cheering athletes, it can be used in daily situations to encourage a friend. Note that 힘내세요 is the polite form. There is also the impolite form 힘내.
Cheer on athletes in Chinese
The Chinese expression 加油 can mean so many things besides “Good Luck!”, “Go for it!”, and “Don’t give up!” It even entered the Oxford English dictionary as it’s too hard to find a proper English translation for it. The phrase literally means “add oil” and it’s said that it originated from a racing competition where supporters urge their driver to add oil and speed up. Nowadays, 加油 can be used in many situations like sports cheer and encouraging friends. Sometimes it’s even used as the marker of the end of a conversation.