Written by Grace Hunter
The 2016 Summer Olympics features the world’s top athletes competing to take home a
coveted gold medal. Whether they’re competing in swimming, biking, or diving, athletes require nutritious food to fuel their race to the podium. To keep the competitors well fed at all hours of the day and night, the Rio Olympics has a dining hall that is open 24/7 and produces 460,000 pounds of food every day. In addition, meals must undergo approval from Olympic officials and dietitians before being deemed worthy of being served to athletes.
So what does an Olympian’s diet look like? While athletes competing in different events
will have their own dietary requirements, two common staples are foods high in carbohydrates and proteins – making pizza and pasta two of the most popular meals. Porridge is another crowd-pleasing menu item, with the dining hall providing bowls made from oats, ground corn, and rice to appeal to athletes from different countries. Finally, over 10 types of yogurt are served to cater to an individual athlete’s needs.
Despite its dedication to feeding the athletes balanced meals, the Olympics has
garnered criticism for not following the same principles when it comes to choosing the
corporations that sponsor the event. Two major sponsors of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games are McDonald’s and Coca Cola. Groups like the World Obesity Foundation and the Children’s Food Campaign have spoken out against this choice, pointing out that these companies promote products that are high in fat and sugar.
The athletes competing in the Olympic Games are inspirational for their dedication and
hard work. However, for viewers at home it can be a conflicting message to watch competitors at the peak of health paired with advertisements for foods that don’t necessarily make the cut for an athletic diet. It’s a good reminder to think critically about what we see on television, and to remember that a lot of hard work and planning goes on behind the scenes to create a winner’s meal.