Monday, 4 July 2016

Countdown to the Olympics: FOOD!

Food is a big deal in my world. Not just because I like to eat (which is true), but because I’m always training for track and field—even during the off season. How else will I get as fast as SUPERMAN?
Food is also a big deal to the Olympic athletes competing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next month.
You might think the menu would be set—protein, vegetables and fruit for all! But even the Ancient Greeks knew that the diet for optimum athleticism is different than when you’re just hanging out with friends. The “science of food” is complex, but did you know, it’s different for EVERY athlete?
With school officially out (yahoo!), I’m turning my attention to the Olympic countdown (and of course my summer bucket list) and I thought it might be fun to look at some of the favourite foods of Olympic athletes to see how they’ll adapt to unfamiliar cuisine—because it’s unlikely athletes aside from the Brazilian team will be ordering peas on their pizza (a popular topping in Brazil!), gulping down the traditional black bean stew, or indulging in any of these popular Brazilian dishes.
As I dish out some fun “foodie” facts, consider the bolded questions—can you figure out the answers?
Water is of course the most important part of any diet and the athletes will go through a considerable amount at the Olympics. But if you really want a shock, check out this article that demonstrates how much water is needed to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. If the average glass of water is 250 mL, how many glasses would it take to fill the pool at Rio 2016?
While British diver Tom Daley is well-known for his daily afternoon milkshake (at 12:30 p.m.!) and daily breakfast of beans on toast, U.S. swimming phenomenon Natalie Coughlin is preparing for the Games with these foods. Jamaican runner Usain Bolt used to eat 20 chicken McNuggets before every competition! Which of the diets listed is the most balanced?
Speaking of Jamaica, athletes there are known to eat a lot of yams—they’re said to make you faster! Would the Jamaican team receive the same amount of nutrients if they ate sweet potatoes? How are they different?
Yep, some Olympic athletes make some questionable food choices—but perhaps the strangest of all is the pre-competition meal of 4-time Gold medal winner, U.S. tennis player, Serena Williams: She eats nothing. As in, zero. What would be YOUR Olympic pre-competition meal?
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry!
Gotta jet, but I hope you had an “explosive” Canada Day—where did you watch the fireworks?
~ Chase Superman Duffy

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