Faster, Higher, Stronger... Fatter?

    You may recognize the beginning part of the title as the popular motto for the modern Olympics. It couldn't be more accurate as we have seen over the decades clear evidence of athletes who embody this motto. However, at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the latter part of the title will no doubt be represented by members of the public, here's why.

    A popular junk-food multinational has its own dreams of glory in sight... to build the biggest eatery of its kind at the Olympic Games site.

    Stop and think about it for a second. Why on earth would the greatest athletic competition of all time be partnered with an industry that has single-handedly contributed to increased obesity, heart disease, type-2 diabetes and a list of other health concerns?

    According to the article "McDonald's makes 2012 Olympics pledge to create the biggest and busiest Big Mac diner", the food chain’s UK corporate big cheese, Jill McDonald says:

    “To be involved in the greatest sporting event on earth is hugely exciting…We want everyone who visits our Olympics park restaurants to have the best possible customer experience, and are confident that the look and feel of these cutting-edge designs will provide that environment.”

    I’ve read every single word of the above quote about 20 times now and I can’t find anything there that refers to offering the paying public healthy food options…food options that could (even if one’s imagination) be associated with the healthy, dedicated lifestyle of the elite (drug-free) athletes with which the corporation is indirectly linked through its endorsement with the Games.

    The following excerpt from the article floored me!

    “The organisers promise a wide range of food available at the Olympics park, including from local suppliers. But it will all have to be unbranded, with only official sponsors afforded the right to have their names on the food they sell.”

    Hopefully the public will use common sense and buy a healthy meal, regardless of the fact that it will likely be unbranded.

    I’m hoping that those food suppliers offering healthy meal options at the Olympic site will use innovative methods to market themselves and their offerings without getting themselves in trouble with the bureaucratic money-making debacle that has become major sporting events.

    The ethics of it all is what really gets to me. You won’t find steroid advertisements at the Olympics because there would be a major outcry focused on the issue of ethics. Why then would the Olympic Games organizers don the other hypocritical hat and get in bed with a junk-food multinational, when the whole ethos of the Games is completely different to that of burgers, fries and trans-fats?!

    4 Responses

    I suppose I’m a traditionalist when it comes to sports and big athletic events like the Olympic Games…blame my childhood days when I used believe that money belonged in the big buildings and not on the sport field.

    A piece of me still struggles to let go of this sometimes. It’s a fact that money is the driving force behind the survival of such sporting events. I’m also a bit of purist as far as professional athletes are concerned…sometimes forgetting that they themselves are indeed human and need to eat food that’s not just confined to the training manual.

    Thanks for the movie tip Jacqui. I haven’t seen ‘Fat Head’ but I’ll definitely look out for it. It sounds pretty interesting.

    Xtend-Life Expert July 29 2011

    Why hypocritical?

    Dean – it’s called "money" …. thought you’d know that.

    Murray July 29 2011


    I appreciate the articles you are writing. I don’t think that your thoughts and how you explain them are far out. They make sense to me. It’s quite ironic that Mc.Donald’s would sponsor the Olympics. Sure, there is the movie Fat Head, but there is also the documentary, Super Size Me, where a gentlemen who was deemed healthy at the start of an all McD’s diet gained 24 lbs, experienced a 13% body mass increase, a cholesterol level of 230, and fat accumulation in his liver (in 30 days!!!).

    It’s a shame that there aren’t other sponsors that will get the same media attention that would promote healthy options. I agree that we are responsible for making good decisions and educating our children. However, when a McDonald’s sponsorship dominates a sporting event….it makes convincing your kids to lay off the junk food…an uphill battle. Unfortunately, we have no one to blame but our selves. McDonald’s didn’t amass such a great fortune without our help.

    I used to think I was making healthier choices when I would order the Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich or the Southwest Chicken Salad…relatively speaking…it was a better choice on the menu, but in reality. The sandwich ALONE was 350 calories and 34% Sodium RDV, and 22% Cholestorol. The salad was 450 calories and 34% sodium.

    If we don’t speak up about these issues and just accept that Cash is King on these matters…nothing ever changes. The sponsor that exists today does not have to be the sponsor that exists four years from now, but we have to start thinking about our decision making and where our dollars are going.

    Thanks Dean for starting the conversation here.

    Joi G. July 30 2011

    So you subscribe to the theory that McDonalds has helped to cause the obesity epidemic?   Isn’t that like blaming wine makers for alcoholism?  If you see the film ‘Fat Head’ you would know that it’s possible to eat healthily at McDonalds or any other fast food joint if you make the right choices so it’s unfair to blame the providers for the fact that humans choose to eat their food.  And I’m willing to bet you that a large number of the athletes will be eating out at McDonalds – after all they do more than enough exercise to burn off the calories and have probably been depriving themselves of fast food for some considerable time before the Games.

    Seriously though, are you trying to say that only companies which you deem are health conscious should be allowed to participate in the Games?  And what you deem as health conscious may be totally different to the next person.  Personally I find a lot of banks appalling sharks and would prefer them not to be represented at such events, but I’m realistic enough to know that money talks and you can’t hold such an amazing event without substantial amounts of it.

    I think you need to broaden your horizons a little and consider that just because one company has become a convenient whipping boy in the media does not necessarily mean that banning them from places will stop people from eating their food.

    Jacqui July 29 2011

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