The Olympics are a showcase for peak physical magnificence, a relentless Tinderfest (you think you don’t stand out in a bar? Try navigating a village full of gymnasts and swimmers in Rio de Fucking Janeiro) and proof that we are surrounded by golden sports gods and goddesses who can totally swim in emerald-green water and not die. So it’s a little weird that they’re all losing their shit over free Big Macs.
Indeed, aside from Biles, Ledecky, Bolt, Phelps and the Slovakian canoe slalom team (REPRESENT, MY PEOPLE!), the clear winner in Rio this year is McDonald's, which established a fully functional calorie tent in the Olympic Village to offer free Big Macs, McGriddles, and dirt-cheap loaves of partial meat to hungry Olympians looking to kick-start just a littttttle bit of body decline.
You and I can hit a McDonald’s but driving 14 seconds in any direction (including up and down) but athletes are LOSING THEIR MINDS about this. (Just ask this badminton player.) The line, according to Time, snakes out the door, packed with the world’s most majestic humans waiting 30 minutes (THIRTY MINUTES!) for patties of gristle that have been smooshed into a grey paste and shipped via donkey from an unsupervised ocean liner and nonrefrigerated truck to an outdoor McProcessingfacility/wastewater plant/shooting range in North Carolina. McDonald’s may be the “hottest ticket in Rio,” the article says, which is probably fun news for all those people who’ve nurtured Brazilian culture for generations. (“Oh really OK we’ll just keep samba, but you guys have fun with the M&M McFlurry.”)
This, as you might suspect, is odd. McDonald's, nutritionally speaking, is marginally better than drinking Rio sewage water, or drinking Rio green pool water, or really pretty much putting a liquid to your lips in Rio. But apparently there are benefits to consuming damp pickles pulled out of a 10-gallon tub with a soup ladle with a 72-oz. depth charge full of Mountain Dew.
Aleksander Radovic of Montenegro’s water polo team said McDonald’s was a “treat.” “McDonald’s is not good for the athletes,” he says in the article. “But our food in the village is so boring. We will celebrate with one Big Mac, and one Coca-Cola. That’s it.” Which makes nutritional sense, but dude, seriously, our six-year-old T-ball teams celebrate harder than that. We give them Mountain Dew and a saddlebag of Big League Chew and T-ball’s not even a sport. You play water polo. At least treat yourself to an Hot Caramel Sundae.
There is some precedent for this. Usain Bolt famously claimed he snorfed down McNuggets before murdering the 100-m world record at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. (If eating six gluey-tasting chicken glumps makes you good, my son will soon assume the powers of Jesus.) And McDonald’s has been adorning the Olympics with commercials that tout McNuggets as being made of chicken now (whee!), instead of the processed meat/slurry/discarded animal legs they’ve been pushing before.
To be fair: Athletes metabolize this sludge faster than those of here in Real America, the one with all the trucks. Phelps can basically lay eyes on a Quarter Pounder and immediately convert it into fuel using only his thoughts. I don’t even think Katie Ledecky eats, she probably just plugs into a charging crystal. And reports have said the official Olympic food is more or less seventh-grade cafeteria style, only with worse rolls and less chocolate milk. So, these guys can eat two weeks of occasional Big Macs and be fine. But I’d be lying if I said the idea didn’t make me grimace.