Thursday, February 18, 2010

Olympic Athletes eat McDonalds and drink Coke, yeah right!

Happy Thursday!

So, I just read this great little post by Richard on Discovery Naturopathy about how fast food and processed food companies are infecting the Olympic games with various forms of advertising. I notice this as well, but basically ignore them whenever they come on, and this is a lot! Yet, Richard changed my perspective about all these fast food images being pumped out to the public. For every healthy folk out there (Athletes included!) that are avoiding these ads and these foods, there are ten other people (just guessing here!), kids and adults, who are taking these ads as an approval for eating crap and eating more of it. They may even think that the Athletes in the commercials and ads use these eating establishments and processed foods to get to the top of the podium. YIKES! I saw this first hand when the torch was passing through Nelson. Ry and I were just walking through the crowd when these happy, smiling faces approached us handing out bottles of Coke. Not cool!

Yes, the Olympics may inspire some to get off the couch and go the gym or dust of their skis, but does this outweigh the heavy streaming of ads for crappy food? I think society is heavily influenced by people placed in the spotlight, whether they are an athlete or a celebrity. Right now athletes are the celebrities, and people are fixated on their every move. And who aspires to celebrities the most? Children! Ever heard of Hannah Montanna or the Jonas Brothers? Case and point, my friends!

Athletes eat clean! Plain and simple. They want that top podium spot and they have to cover all their bases in order to achieve that dream. Why would you want to take a step backwards and eat foods that go against everything you are training so hard for? That's why they don't eat something from a drive-thru window. I'm not saying they never, ever eat something from a fast food joint, but I bet its seldom. Those are definitely not "Whopper" legs.

This article by US News explains a little bit about how athletes have to eat in order to maintain their peak physical condition. It depends greatly on the sport and the energy expenditure that sport requires, obviously. But they have to eat double or more of what the average man and woman are supposed to eat. They also work closely with dietitians and other specialists to get their diets on the track to success.

Yet, here is where the moral dilemma comes in. In order to train and succeed you need money, and lots of it for some sports. How do they get that money? Sponsorships (mainly). As they train everyday for 7-8 hours, its nearly impossible to have a job. The main sponsors are of course big corporations and brands that have large amounts of cash to give out to an Athlete who will wear their logo and eat their product in an ad. So, what are you going to do? Watch your Olympic dream fizzle away because you cannot afford to compete, or sign with a large company that you know is poisoning the nation in order to reach the top? This is just another example of how big corporations get ya! They know they have what you want and if you want it bad enough, you will sign on the dotted line. I find this a catch-22 situation and wouldn't want to have to make this decision. So, I understand these athletes that do sign on with these companies and I don't hold it against them. I just wish there were broccoli farmers and avocado farmers sponsoring these athletes but I know deep down that that may (I have hope!) never happen.

All in all, we vote with our dollars. So, if we buy more from great, "real" foods companies, then possibly in the future, we could have an organic sponsorship. Now that would be more realistic.

So Yes, the games are highly commercialized but the spirit of the athletes, their families, and the fans will be what fills the worlds heart and minds, while the rest will be forgotten.

This photo is courtesy of The Province

This photo is courtesy of The Province

This picture is courtesy of The Province

Enjoy the games everyone! And if you don't care for the games, just check out pictures of Vancouver. I live about 1/2 hour east of the city but you'll get the gist! Hope you can come and visit sometime.


bitt of raw said...

the sponsorships make me furious too. i can't stand mcdonalds for so many reasons. the olympics teach people (especially kids) so much about courage and working hard and the unhealthy ads just work against that.

Melissa said...

Hey Bitt! It seems everything that should be about spirit and fun has to have some commercialization behind it. Seriously why can't it just be about skating or snowboarding or curling. Thanks for your insight!