Press-Republican

Columns

August 7, 2012

Olympic -Eye View: A fest of food and people-watching

The most common question I’m asked is not about the famous athletes I get to treat here in London at the Summer Olympic Games. 

Nor is it about the most gruesome injury I’ve seen. 

Oddly enough, most people want to know about the food in the Olympic Village. With 17,000 mouths to feed there, providing a good variety of quality food is an unbelievable undertaking.

The 5,000-seat Olympic Dining Hall was built as a massive, temporary tent near the center of the Athletes Village. More than 194,000 square feet of eating space! To put that in perspective, it is large enough inside to park 880 double-decker buses. Or approximately the same size as the Super Walmart in Plattsburgh.

ALL YOU CAN EAT

In the Dining Hall, athletes are able to eat anything they could ever need or want, 24 hours a day for the entire duration of the Olympics. All you can eat at every meal, and you can come and go as often as you like. Almost any imaginable type of food is served (... although I have not yet been offered a red hot). Something familiar for every athlete from around the world. Not a good environment for someone trying to lose weight.

And I think Mark Twain was accurate when he said, “Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”  

EVEN McDONALDS

Not only is the variety of food impressive, the quantity of food is mind blowing. Over the course of the Olympics, an estimated 1.2 million meals will be served, which works out to 65,000 per day. And yes, the rumors are true. There is also a full-sized McDonald’s restaurant in the dining hall that is also open around the clock.

However, as good as the food is, the entertainment really starts once you sit down. Although no one mentions it, the real reason everyone hangs out in the dining hall is to gawk at the celebrities and the freaks. And I use “freaks” in the best possible use of the word — from the massive weightlifters to the bird-like gymnasts, the 7-plus-foot basketball and volleyball players to the superstar athletes that I watch on TV. 

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