Why McDonald’s Is Wildly Popular Among Rio Olympians Before, During, After Events

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Eating McDonald’s can be both a guilty pleasure and a necessity for people around the world, even for Olympians in Rio de Janeiro.

The golden arches at the Olympic athlete village have become a popular destination among athletes competing in the 2016 games, according to Time.com’s Sean Gregory, who calls that particular McDonald’s the “hottest ticket in Rio.” That despite McDonald’s limited nutritional value.

USA gold-medal judo fighter Kayla Harrison noted the lines at Rio’s Olympic village McDonald’s often are long, perhaps because the food is free.

“Oh my God, it pisses me off,” said Harrison, who trains in Wakefield, Mass. “It’s insane. We went and stood in the line for 10 minutes, and we were like, ‘OK, we’re not doing this.’ People were walking by with three bags. They must be like, ‘I’ll have 24 cheeseburgers.’ ”

Some have chosen to eat the fast food to help wind down after they compete, while others have no qualms about downing fries, burgers, milkshakes and more before their events have started or finished.

American swimmer Kevin Cordes said he ate a burger before his first event in Rio. It didn’t stop him from winning a gold medal in the 4×100 medley relay.

“It breaks the monotony,” Cordes said. “You feel comfortable and happy eating. You get to relax and slow down a bit.”

The monotony about which Cordes speaks might concern the food in the Olympic mess hall.

“The food in the dining hall is not good,” Egyptian diver Mohad Ishak bluntly explained.

Montenegran water polo player Aleksandar Radovic added insight about how McDonald’s can help athletes ease the tension of competition.

“McDonald’s is not good for the athletes,” Radovic said. “But our food in the village is so boring. Sometimes you need to change. This was a big victory. We will celebrate with one Big Mac and one Coca-Cola. That’s it. And if they don’t have a Big Mac, we will celebrate with Chicken McNuggets.”

People around the world love McDonald’s, and Olympians are just like us, er, them.

Thumbnail photo via Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports Images

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