It’s that time again — the Winter Olympics are upon us, and I must confess, I am a full-ﬂedged Olympics nerd. That’s right, I said it, and I am proud of it! The pure, unabashed smiles, tears, and cheers — I have my TIVO set to capture every last minute of it. I don’t know how some of those athletes hold it together on the podium, because tears still come to my eye every time the American ﬂag is raised. There is something awe-inspiring about seeing an 18-year-old kid from Anywhere, America, doing extraordinary things. These athletes are passionate, spirited, and determined, and doing it all for the love of the sport.
So how do these kids become Olympic athletes? Aside from their physical regime, what do they eat to make these performances possible? I have always assumed they had an army of trainers, measuring every ounce of food in order to achieve optimal ﬁtness levels. State of the art supplements — perfectly mixed energy shakes — complex mixtures of proteins and carbs — this must be the only way to do it, right?
My assumptions were proven incorrect after reading a recent article in the newest edition of Sports Illustrated. The article bestowed the virtues of Apolo Ohno, and talked about his strategy for the 2010 games. He set out to reinvent himself, his technique and his body, by performing exhausting exercise routines and by shaving down his body fat. However, instead of shakes, supplements, and potions, Ohno sought out the basic elements of the Mediterranean Diet to achieve this goals. He relied upon oatmeal, salmon, brown rice, greens, fruit and pasta to furnish his body with the energy and strength he needed to succeed.
Imagine that, despite all the advancements in nutrition science, the age-old ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet allowed Ohno to attain his competitive edge. So then I started to think…wait a minute — maybe its not that hard. I like salmon. I like brown rice. I like them even more when eaten together! Maybe, I too can be an Olympian? Just as the faint sounds of the anthem are heard, and I begin to visualize just where I will hang my medal…I snap out of it, and take my place on the couch, right in front of my TV for the next round of the Olympics.
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