Archive for the tag - olympics

Coca-Cola’s “Get The Ball Rolling” Fail.

sticker,375x360Earlier this week, Coca-Cola announced an initiative to help people get active and set a goal of inspiring 3 million individuals. According to the press release, Coca-Cola’s “Get The Ball Rolling” effort underscores the company’s global commitments to fight obesity and be part of the solution.

Oh, the irony.

Each year, the average American consumes 43 pounds of sugar from soft drinks alone. If Coca-Cola wants to educate people about health and nutrition, maybe they should publicize the links between refined sugar and violent behavior, fatigue, stiffening of arteries, headaches, depression, skin irritation, acne, hypoglycemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, nervous tension and obesity. Or maybe they should do a public service announcement about how, according to brain scans, sugar is as addictive as cocaine.

Coca-Cola’s press release notes that the company offers low or no calorie options in every market. What the press release doesn’t mention is that even artificial sweeteners have been linked to obesity in that they increase cravings for other sugary, unhealthy foods.

The company commends itself for putting caloric information on the front of all packaging. However, Coca-Cola does nothing to educate consumers that not all calories are alike. Unlike the calories in many of the foods we eat, soft drink calories are “empty” and come without any nutritional benefit.

Moreover, the press release goes on to say that the company markets “responsibly.” Coca-Cola and I must have different understandings of marketing responsibly, as a recent billboard near my home featured an Olympic swimmer reaching for a Coke. It implies a connection between Coca-Cola and health that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s reminiscent of those decades-old cigarette ads featuring endorsements by athletes like Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.

On one hand, it’s great that Coca-cola wants to help people be active. Getting people to move is a good thing. But on the other hand, if Coca-Cola wants to do something to help improve the health of Americans, it should close its doors and go out of business.

Should Coca-Cola be Allowed to Sponsor the Olympics?

Coca-Cola claims to be the longest continuous sponsor of the Olympic games, having paid more than 0 million for the exclusive rights to be the official provider of non-alcoholic drinks at the games.

According to a Coca-Cola spokesperson:

This funding is critical to enable athletes from around the world to train, prepare for, and compete in the Games. Without the support of The Coca-Cola Company and the other worldwide sponsors, as many as 170 of the 200 National Olympic Committees would be unable to send athletes to compete.

I understand that corporate sponsors are necessary to help fund the Olympics, but partnering up with Coca-Cola seems a lot like blood money. While Coca-Cola claims to share the Olympic values of excellence, participation, friendship and respect, this partnership seems a little – forgive the pun – flat.

Yesterday, I was driving down the highway and saw one of Coca-Cola’s Olympic ads. In it, an athletic female swimmer is reaching underwater for a bottle of Coke. With her toned muscles glistening under her team USA bathing suit, the ad seems to imply that drinking Coke is part of a healthy lifestyle. In actuality, drinking Coke is more likely to give you type II diabetes than a gold medal.

In a lot of ways, the Coke billboard reminds me of tobacco advertisements from decades past. Whether it was a photograph of muscled men playing volleyball while smoking cigarettes or endorsements by athletes like Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays, the tobacco industry was undoubtedly trying to position their product well in the minds of health-conscious consumers.

Here are the facts: Drinking just one soda a day can equal an extra 25 pounds of weight per year. And sugary beverages are the largest source of added sugar for the average American – equaling about 50% of the typical person’s increased calorie consumption. This leads to obesity, heart disease and, of course, the diabetes epidemic. Some 25.8 million Americans have diabetes and another 79 million adults are estimated to have pre-diabetes.

While there’s plenty of blame to go around, we shouldn’t be broadcasting any implied connection between drinking soft drinks and physical health or athletic performance. Make no mistake: Soda is poison for our bodies – and to give Coca-Cola such a high level of visibility at the Olympics seems to fly in the face of that which the games stand for.

BONUS:

Though America’s sugar consumption has dipped in recent years, check out this infographic to see the depth of our problem:

Infographic credit: http://www.onlinenursingprograms.com/nursing-your-sweet-tooth/

Olympics Inspiration.

Philip Boy: My Olympic gymspiration.

I absolutely love watching the summer Olympics. Not only are the God-like athletes exceedingly easy on the eyes (my new favorite is German gymnast Philipp Boy), but the competitions can also be an incredible source of inspiration for us all.

In Latin, the Olympic motto reads Citius, Altius, Fortius. In English, it translates to Faster, Higher, Stronger. And with each day of the games, we see just that; old records fall and new records are set.

While we might not be destined for gold medals, I do think there’s an Olympian in all of us. More than a competition, the Olympic games are about pushing beyond our limits and the pursuit of excellence.

This morning, I was running on the treadmill while watching the televised Olympic games. With only three minutes left of my cardio, I was running low on energy. I wanted to stop. Through my sweat-blurred eyes, I could see the athletes pushing themselves harder and harder. As my finger reached for the treadmill’s “stop” button, I instead clicked the speedometer up two notches. I ran like I’ve never run before. And though there was no podium to make, it was my gold medal moment.

Within us all, there is an Olympian in embryo. It’s the little voice telling you to keep jogging when you want to walk or to get that extra repetition in at the gym. When you’re sitting at home and have an inclination to exercise, that is the Olympian within pushing you to do better.

Faster. Higher. Stronger. While we might not be winning any medals in London or setting any world records, we can use the Olympics as a source of inspiration in our own personal pursuit of excellence.

Meet the (Shirtless) U.S. Men’s Gymnastics Team.

Every now and then, I like to share a little bit of fitness inspiration and motivation – and, after watching the Olympic trials, I know there’s no shortage of either in the U.S. men’s gymnastics team. I have two words, “Yes, please.”

These men are, of course, very delicious eye candy. But with their incredible flexibility, strength an athleticism, they’re also incredible examples to which all of us can aspire. Sure, most of us aren’t going to compete in the Olympics. But I like to say that it’s better to shoot for the stars and land on the moon than aim for the mountains and reach them.

With all that in mind, I give you the Olympians of the U.S. men’s gymnastics team.

Jake Dalton: Age 20, 5’5″

Jonathan Horton: Age 26, 5’1″

Danell Leyva: Age 20, 5’7″

John Orozco: Age 19, 5’4″

Sam Mikulak: Age 19, 5’6″

Jake Dalton is my absolute favorite, but – as someone who loves shorter guys – each one of these gymnasts makes my heart skip a beat.

Which gymnast will you be tuning in to watch during the Olympics? Let me know in the comments below!