McDonald’s Ends Partnership with Olympics
The 2020/2021 Tokyo Olympics has come to an end after 2½ weeks of great sporting moments and something for us to cheer on in these desperate times. This is also the first Olympic games since 1976 that McDonalds was not a major sponsor. I know, McDonalds sponsoring the pinnacle of sports is a tad ironic, but McDonalds has always been churning out Olympic related ads and merchandise for the past 30 years.
So how did the world’s largest fast-food chain become a key sponsor in the largest most prestigious sporting event on the globe?
Well, the answer is homesickness or a lack of adaptability (depending on who you ask). American athletes in the 1967 Winter Olympics were homesick for American food so the Golden Arches flew out McDonalds to the French town of Grenoble. This was McDonald’s first involvement with the games. Fast forward nearly a decade later, McDonald’s became an official sponsor.
Since then, every athlete village at the Summer & Winter Olympic Games have had a temporary McDonald’s restaurant which looks and feels like the ones we know albeit one small caveat: the menus in the restaurant have no prices
on them because they serve all athletes for free.
Many athletes have said that they do indulge in the calorific fast-food items. Most notably Usain Bolt who claimed that he has chicken nuggets as a pre-race meal. American swimmer Lilly King also stated that she survived off McDonalds in Rio 2016 because she wasn’t used to the food provided in the village in Brazil.
This ironic but money-making partnership came to an end when McDonald’s decided to pull the plug in 2017, 3 years ahead of its 20-year contract with the IOC, citing reasons such as refocusing resources to improve food quality in their restaurants. So, there we are, this marks the first Olympic Games without the direct involvement of McDonald’s, maybe that’s why Usain Bolt decided to retire.