London 2012 Olympics: Swimmers lead in after-Games unhealthy eating
IT brings a whole new meaning to the term fast food. While London 2012 has been graced by the world’s most outstanding athletes who have broken innumerable world records, it seems Olympians have a soft spot for junk food.
From the Jamaican sprinting sensation, Usain Bolt, through to several gold medal winning members of Team GB, competitors at the Games have revealed how they enjoyed a binge on unhealthy foodstuffs after completing their events.
In the run-up to the Games the International Olympic Committee was widely criticised for accepting lucrative sponsorship deals from firms including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Cadbury. But it appears corporate concerns that the fast-food industry would undermine the positive health legacy of the Olympics are not shared by elite athletes.
After months of adhering to strict dietary regimes many athletes couldn’t wait to indulge their cravings.
Nicola Adams, who made history for Britain by winning gold in the women’s boxing event, told reporters she was heading out for a meal not traditionally associated with sporting excellence, revealing her desire to visit Nando’s, the popular Portuguese chain which specialises in spicy, flame-grilled chicken.
The flyweight fighter explained: “I’m going to celebrate by going to Nando’s and having a medium chicken in pitta and chips before enjoying life in the Olympic Village. After months of hard training I deserve a few days to let my hair down.”
Ms Adams was not alone among Team GB’s victorious athletes in expressing a desire for foodstuffs ordinarily associated with the nation’s obesity epidemic.
Joanna Rowsell, the cyclist who helped her country claim gold in the team sprint, marked her achievement by visiting a branch of McDonald’s inside the athletes’ village and savouring a portion of chicken nuggets and a cheeseburger, topped off with a McFlurry ice cream.
She pointed out that normally, she would steer clear of Big Macs and quarter pounders, insisting that her meal was a treat. “I can’t even remember when I last had a McDonald’s,” she added.
Even the great Bolt admitted to wolfing down a wrap from McDonald’s on the morning of his blistering triumph in the 100 metres final, adding that he has “had a few nuggets” from the chain during his stay in London.
It is apparently, the athletes in the pool who have the greatest appetites. In the wake of their win in the 4x200 metres freestyle relay, US swimmers Ricky Berens and Conor Dwyer visited the same branch of the ubiquitous fast-food chain and placed an order that would easily feed a family of four. Mr Dwyer plumped for a quarter pounder, two six-piece portions of chicken nuggets, fries, and a McFlurry. His teammate devoured two quarter pounders, a Big Mac, six-pieces of nuggets, two portions of fries, and a McFlurry.
“We put so much pressure on this meet,” Mr Berens reasoned. “We sacrifice so much for the Olympic Games. It’s our time to relax.”
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