Food equals fuel for Olympians
The relationship between food and sport is inextricable
An athlete’s body is a temple, for which food is more than fuel. You only get out what you put in, as the saying goes. The science behind sportsmen and women’s diet and how it can add to their performance is now a multi-million dollar business.
Team GB and all the athletes from the 203 other competing nations will be under strict instructions. Eat this, don’t eat that. But clearly there isn’t one winning formula.
Lizzie Armitstead, silver medallist in the women’s cycling road race, has been vegetarian since the age of 10. She loaded up on omelettes prior to hitting the road to Boxhill and back on Sunday. Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man for a few more days at least, famously feasted on chicken nuggets before sprinting into the record books in Beijing. Interviews with two of Britain’s bronze medal winning gymnasts revealed they would celebrate by eating burgers – implying they had been keeping off the fast food in the build-up to the Games.
Remember player interviews in Shoot magazine back in the 70s? Players who didn’t list steak and chips or chicken and chips as their favourite meal were oddities. Now most of them have to wait for the off season to indulge their guilty pleasures.
While SRA friend Giles Coren may not have been impressed with the quality of Little Chef’s Olympic breakfast, it stood up well to a full SRA Sustainability Rating – scoring seven with our very rigorous judges – using free range, high welfare eggs, pork sausage and black pudding sourced from the UK. People scoff at roadside scoff and what they perceive as the cheap end of the market, but look a little closer and you’ll find there are plenty of sustainable options in what diners might consider unlikely places.
Raymond Blanc was among the 8,000 people this summer entrusted with carrying the Olympic flame around Britain. Insisting on only sustainable fish, Fairtrade bananas, tea, coffee and chocolate as well as perhaps most significantly the first ever Olympic Food Policy, LOCOG should be applauded for leaving the beginnings of a legacy of which SRA President Blanc might be proud.