olympic incongruity

I’m not a big television watcher, but during the Olympics that all changes! There is something that comes alive in me like at no other time than during the Olympic Games!

I am inspired by the athletes, their diligence and perseverance, their strength and artistry. I’m moved to tears by their stories, their wins, their losses, their jubilation and their anguish. I celebrated for Alex Bilodeau winning mogul gold. Learning that his handicapped older brother was his inspiration just melted my heart and caused me to respect him even more. Watching Joannie Rochette send a kiss up to heaven to her mother when she finished skating brought a torrent of tears. These are real people with real life stories. They are champions in every sense.

My maternal grandparents and mother were Canadians-turned-American-citizens, so it was with particular interest that I watched this year. Growing up near Detroit, I was raised on Red Wings hockey. I was very disappointed that the USA lost the final hockey game, but was glad the Canadians could win their national winter sport on their own turf.

There is only one thing about the Olympics this year that didn’t thrill me. Rather, it was cause for my brow to wrinkle in consternation. I don’t know if you caught it, but the first time I saw a McDonald’s commercial I was appalled. I was nearly offended. Seriously! How is it that McDonald’s was a primary sponsor for the Olympics? (I just checked it out, and apparently they’ve been sponsors since 1976. How have I missed that?) With childhood obesity being as high as it is, what makes us think that just watching the Olympics will inspire children to get out and play? Especially when McDonald’s is advertising throughout. More than likely, the kids’ll want to stay inside and watch others do athletic feats while they eat – food from McDonald’s preferably.

When my kids were little we’d occasionally watch Sesame Street. There was a song, “One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong.”  Let’s play that little game right now and put athletes, strong healthy bodies, the Olympics and McDonald’s on the grid. Anyone with any sense knows that the first three have nothing in common with McDonald’s, or any fast food junk for that matter.  What a campaign they are running! Let’s make some alluring commercials with sweet sentiment and fool everyone into believing it’s the stuff of champions! Yeah, let’s tell our children that Olympic athletes eat at McDonald’s and if they want to become a gold medalist someday, they too should eat junk food! What a spin! What bunk!

Chicken nuggets dipped in a glossy magenta sauce and some golden deep-fat-fried potatoes, the magical food of Olympians. Not. (Even if they do eat McDonald’s food, they’re working out for many hours a day, unlike your average person.)

It’s not really about Olympians. It’s not about nutrition. It’s about profit. Period. Why do we tolerate this? Because they give money to the Olympics. Why does the Olympic leadership team tolerate the inconsistency, the incongruity? Money.

Well then, why not let tobacco companies advertise as well? Hey, let’s run a marathon and then light up and puff in celebration!

Well, I don’t know about you, but I won’t absorb every image that comes at me as being good and acceptable just because it airs during the Olympic Games.  Don’t think for a minute that I’ll start eating at McDonalds because they’ve advertised during my favorite televised event.

I think I’ll go drink a Coke.

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3 Responses to “olympic incongruity”

  1. Wanda Jackson Says:

    I too love the Winter Olympics and had a wonderful opportunity to visit the site of a past one in Utah with friends a couple of years ago. (check out my pic on facebook:>) Your last comment cracked me up too!

  2. Valerie Bosselman Says:


  3. Claudia Kaser Says:

    Your last sentence literally made me laugh out loud!

    Great comments….as always!

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