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The Olympics Food Options Are So Bad that Athletes Are Eating McDonald’s

Official Rio 2016 sponsor McDonald’s has been offering free food to athletes and coaches in the Olympic Village.

by Daisy Meager
16 August 2016, 5:20pm

With all the pre-dawn training sessions, slogs to and from the gym, and resulting acts of extreme human agility, you'd think Olympic athletes existed on a diet of protein shakes and green smoothies.

Think again.

If you head over to Rio's Olympic Village, you won't find the pros carb-loading under the watchful eyes of their trainers, but instead queuing for a Big Mac with large fries and a Diet Coke.

Well, at least it isn't full fat, right?

McDonald's is one of the official sponsors of this year's Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, and has been handing out free food and drink to athletes and their coaches. It's proved so popular that, according to reports in The Washington Post, the junk food chain has had to start limiting each person to 20 items per order.

READ MORE: The Olympics Food and Drink Situation Is a Complete and Utter Mess

But it may not be cravings for pre-race fries that has had athletes turning to the Golden Arches (although Usain Bolt did reveal that his world record-breaking 100 metre sprint was fuelled by around 100 chicken nuggets a day during the 2008 Beijing Olympics), it seems that there may be few other options. Idalys Ortiz, a judoka from Cuba, told The Washington Post that other food on offer in the Olympic Village simply isn't up to scratch.

She said: "Normally, in the cafeteria, the food isn't good. In practically all the arenas, it's the same. So the whole world always comes here for American food—that's McDonald's."

At an Olympics already riddled with a frustrating lack of food and drink offerings—namely running out of food at spectator venues—the publicised popularity of McDonald's among athletes due to poor alternatives doesn't help.

READ MORE: Olympic Athletes' Leftover Food Is Being Used to Feed Rio's Poor

It'll also come as another piece of unwelcome news to British health campaigners, who last week criticised the Rio Olympics organisers for creating a "carnival of junk food marketing" (Kellogg's high-sugar cereals and Coca Cola are among other sponsors).

As Rio 2016 draws to a close, it seems athletes have no choice but to continue lovin' it.