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Feeding the London Olympic Village: What Do Olympic Athletes Eat?

Find out what's on the menu, plus the types of food (and how much) London ordered for the 2012 Olympics.

High-octane Olympic athletes, like swimmers and water polo players, consume a near-superhuman (or Sumo-wrestler) diet of 5,000 plus calories per day. And other Olympic athletes demand slightly less, but similar daily diets just to stay on top of their game.

Now imagine you're in charge of feeding not just one Olympian, or one team, or even one country, but every single athlete in the Olympic Village, for two weeks. That's the predicament the Olympic officials in London encountered when they won the bid for the Games back in 2005. After years of careful study and consultation, here’s the breakdown of food (and how much of it) they ordered to fuel every competing athlete. 

With some athletes carbo-loading for endurance events and others devouring protein for muscle recovery, the Olympic Village’s refrigerators and freezers are stocked to satiate both needs, for the entire two week period. On the carb front, the Olympic committee shipped in 25,000 loaves of bread and 232 tons of potatoes—perhaps anticipating athletes will chow down on the fries in England’s specialty dish, fish and chips.

As for protein, let's start with beef. While there's surely a few vegetarian Olympians, London still ordered 100 tons of beef to fill its various Olympic Village eateries. That’s enough meat for 800,000 quarter-pound burgers. Olympians wanting to top off their burgers with cheese don’t have to worry about a shortage—the Village’s refrigerators are filled with 21 tons of it. For Olympians who don’t like beef or cheese, or who like to mix up their diet, the Village also has 31 tons of poultry and over 82 tons of seafood on hand.

For fresh produce, the Village covered all anticipated needs by ordering a whopping 330 tons of fruit and vegetables to fill up its salad bars. And while Gatorade or Coke sponsors many athletes, it seems that after water, milk is the Village’s most popular drink with 75,000 liters ice cold and ready for guzzling. (Oreo cookies not included.)

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