Olympians' favorite breakfast for the summer and winter games
EC: US Olympic Athletes Eat a Lot of Yogurt
Credit: Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

Olympic athletes have notoriously large appetites, so it’s hard not to wonder: What do Olympic athletes eat for breakfast in a dining hall that’s bigger than two American football fields and will serve over 60,000 meals daily? Turns out that in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the site of the 2016 games, Olympians will eat a lot of yogurt. In an interview with Bon Appétit, Australian dietitian Fiona Pelly explained how certain foods are selected for the menu at the cafeteria in the Olympic Village. “You want to have a few different fruit-flavored options along with plain, but you may also need to provide soy, goat milk, full-fat, reduced-fat, skim, and Greek,” she told the magazine. “So that’s nearly 10 choices, and we’re just talking about yogurt.”

And it wouldn’t be too shocking if all these different kinds of yogurt got eaten up quickly, since Olympic athletes, especially those from the United States, seem to love yogurt, no matter the sport or the season. Athletes competing in either the summer or winter Olympic Games cite yogurt as a regular part of their morning, or even post-workout, routines.

Take Ann Swisshelm, a curler on the US Olympics Women’s Curling team, for example, who eats Greek yogurt with fruit for breakfast, while Erin Hamlin, an American luger, likes “some yogurt with muesli or granola and an orange or a banana,” according to Cosmopolitan. US Olympian and freestyle aerialist skier Emily Cook told Glamour that she snacks on yogurt after a workout: “Almonds, fruit, or yogurt are great little snacks for recovery after working hard.” Athletes competing in the summer Olympic Games also love yogurt, from swimmers to wrestlers. Even decathlete Ashton Eaton, who has two morning meals when he’s training, eats a first breakfast of “Greek yogurt sprinkled with museli,” he told Delish.com.

Chobani, the Greek yogurt giant from New York, knows that Olympians love yogurt, and that mere mortals love eating what the athletes eat. That’s why they debuted a 60-second Olympics-themed commercial in 2012, during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London, and have been involved with Team USA ever since. Chobani launched three Brazilian-themed yogurts in honor of this year’s games and even signed up to be a Team USA sponsor until 2020.

Chobani was also a sponsor of Team USA during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, but there was a bit of snafu with the Chobani yogurt delivery to the American athletes. Russian customs officials denied the shipment of 5,000 containers of Chobani yogurt from Newark International Airport to Russia, claiming that that American authorities did not complete the proper paperwork. New York Senator Chuck Schumer released a strongly worded statement, demanding that American athletes get their yogurt in Sochi, saying “The Russian Authorities should get past ‘nyet,’ and let this prime sponsor of the US Olympic Team deliver their protein-packed food to our athletes.” Meanwhile, in Russia, athletes worried that not having access to the snack on which they rely could have a deleterious impact on their performance and totally mess up their pre-competition routine.

Fortunately, of all the challenges faced by athletes at this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, a yogurt shortage doesn’t seem to be one of them, and American athletes should be all set on the yogurt front.

By Maxine Builder and Maxine Builder