McDonald’s: propelling our Olympians towards the 2012 London Games
Everybody has seen the advertisements. There are two men dressed in jogging gear, sitting on a bench. As one swings his arms back and forth, in a mock race to the finish line, he reminisces about how magnificent McDonald’s new Atlanta Pork McRib would taste.
Cut to a succulent, marinated pork rib being grilled and condensed between two freshly baked buns, topped with mouth-watering sauce and the obligatory fresh lettuce and tomato. Both men start drooling; no doubt they are simply wearing their jogging gear in preparation for a sprint to the front of their nearest McDonald’s cue.
McDonald’s is a proud, official sponsor of the London 2012 games- sending our athletes to greatness. As a result, Australian McDonald’s has begun advertising their new Games menu, complete with the Atlanta Pork McRib.
During the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, Michael Phelps, winner of eight gold medals, stated in an interview that he consumed 12,000 calories a day typically consisting of three fried egg sandwiches filled with cheese, tomato, lettuce, fried onions, and mayonnaise, a five egg omelette, three chocolate chip pancakes, three slices of French toast dusted with sugar, a bowl of grits and two cups of coffee.
And that was only breakfast.
At the same time, Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, told audiences around the world that he skips breakfast, wakes at 11am, eats chicken nuggets, sleeps some more, eats a second helping of nuggets then hits the track.
Michael Phelps broke enough world records to make Ian Thorpe consider a comeback and Usain Bolt ran fast enough to outpace the DeLorean going at top speed, for a second concerned coaches thought he may end up Back to the Future. If both of these men could consume such caloric heavy diets, comprised largely of trans-fats, sugars and carbohydrates, then it would appear fitting that McDonald’s, a company known for their waist-expanding foods, sponsors their sprint to the finish line.
Yet Usain Bolt, for all of the chicken nuggets that he loves, trains for three intensive hours a day. These workouts include strength based resistance training, plyometric, circuit training, flexibility training and sprints. The two men drooling over the Atlanta Pork McRib look more like desk jockeys than Olympic athletes.
According to Myfitnesspal.com, one Atlanta Pork McRib burger consists of 500 calories, 26g of fat (10g saturated), 70mg cholesterol, 980mg sodium and of 11g sugar. The average male between the ages of 19-30, who is moderately active, should consume between 2600-2800 calories daily, less than 2,300mg salt and under 300mg of cholesterol per day. For females, all numbers essentially remain the same, except their caloric intake should be lower, approximately between 2000- 2,200 depending on activity levels.
One Pork McRib provides a male with 19% of their RDI of calories (25% for women), 42% of a person’s sodium RDI, and 24% of a person RDI of cholesterol. These numbers are for a person that is moderately active. For a desk jockey or individual that doesn’t exercise 3-4 times a week at a moderate intensity level, the percentages would be more damning.
It is estimated that by 2030, 58% of the world’s adult population will be obese- no doubt the majority of this 58% would be derived from first world countries such as Australia and America. Many professionals, including Government officials, have stepped forward and acknowledged the obesity epidemic that is engulfing our world. So why do we allow a company such as McDonald’s to sponsor an event that brings together the fastest, strongest, fittest and mentally strong athletes from around the world? Because it is a mutually profitable arrangement between the Olympic committee and McDonalds.
It is unfortunate that, in only a handful of weeks, the Olympics will start and with it, a glut of new commercials advertising for foods laced with preservatives, salt, sugars and calories. Michael Phelps and Usain bolt can get away with eating Atlanta Pork McRibs for breakfast, lunch and dinner with little ill effects if they desire, due to their intensive training regiments. For you and me though, this type of misguided endorsement and sponsorship leads us down a dark path, where we begin to associate places like McDonald’s with fit and healthy individuals.
And as for those two men dressed in running gear, sitting on the park bench and salivating over McDonald’s new burger, check back in with them before the 2016 Olympics. I can guarantee you it won’t be a pretty sight.