Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympian eats

I'm not quite sure why I am so interested in the Olympics. Perhaps my life is less exciting than I thought.

Of course, I am paying attention to the food angle. There was a really culturally disparaging piece on NBC about Chinese food. The implication was that they'll eat any part of any creature - and the critic apparently just faked eating things, not really tasting them. When did making fun of another culture become acceptable again? Let's criticize China for the tiny underage gymnasts, but not trash their centuries of amazing food culture.

The ads would suggest that the successful athlete eats fried chicken sandwiches on white buns with pickles as a vegetable (MacDonald's), Coca-cola, and Pringles. Mmmm. Actually it might be tasty- but nutritious?

The little vignettes about American stars are pretty interesting from the food angle, too. I wonder what is going to happen to Michael Phelps when he stops training for six months given how much he eats. How long does it take for the metabolism to begin to drop? He commented in the biosnip that basically, he "just shovels it in." Sleeps, eats, trains, eats, plays with his dog, eats some more. An interesting contrast with Natalie Coughlin who was depicted - both by NBC and local news - as enjoying a variety of activities, not just competitive swimming. And - yea Natalie - though I'm sure that Berkeley influence helps - she enjoys a trip to her neighborhood farmers' market and cooking for her friends.

Here's my analysis: At any given time there are probably about 1 or 2 billion people alive of an age to compete in sports. Only one of them can be the most decorated - and it may be worth ignoring good health habits and being single-minded to the point of not worrying about later until later to get there. But our local girl Natalie has gold medals and the beginnings of a fun and well fed life - lifelong.

update: Natalie won six medals, the most of any American woman in swimming at any Olympics. But somehow the media didn't bother to celebrate the fact.

Meanwhile, Shawn Johnson's biosnip showed her in her West Des Moines supermarket, reviewing her image on packages of all sorts of processed industrial food. AND - they sculpted her in butter! But one of her sponsors is Orowheat (bread and butter!) and she reports eating only the occasional junk food item.

update: Iowa's woman track star was sculpted in ice at the State Fair. What does this difference say?

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