Olympic Coffee Habits Uncovered
The London 2012 Olympics have inspired many of us to get into shape and to dream big. So how do these athletes do it? Is there a key ingredient that helps push these competitors to perform their best? Well it turns out that coffee plays a small part in the training of some of our top Canadian athletes. Ambassador and former athlete, Kelly Doody uncovers more about their coffee habits for us.
As Canada’s best athletes gather in London to face their respective sporting opponents from around the globe over the next few weeks, Canadians on home soil will do their part by sporting plenty of red and white, waving their maple leaf-adorned flags and yelling loudly at their television screens as the action unfolds. And given the numerous time zones separating us from our comrades competing in Europe, it’s safe to say many of us will be setting our alarms for early wake-up calls in order to catch the live competition, and likely setting the timers on our coffeemakers, too.
Without a doubt, we’re not the only ones. As a former member of Canada’s national swim team, I can recall the welcomed role that caffeine played in my sport, particularly the kind that came from a smooth cup of coffee prior to competing, be it a ‘flat white’ in Australia, a perfect shot of espresso in Italy, a cup of French-pressed while in France, or the unfortunate instant kind while racing in Japan. The World Anti-Doping Agency’s removed caffeine from the banned substance list in 2004, and its role in helping athletes bring home the gold at these Olympic games will be bigger than ever, as more and more of the world’s best athletes turn to the wonders of caffeine for a safe performance boost while in competition.
Study after study has shown caffeine to have numerous benefits for a range of different athletes, from improving a person’s endurance in sports where long-term stamina is required, to decreasing fatigue as a race or game drags on, both of which can have an enormous impact not only on the athlete’s physical performance, but on their psychological state as well. As a stimulant of the central nervous system, caffeine is known to increase a person’s ability to concentrate for 1 to 3 hours, making its mental appeal just as strong as its physical one, notably in sports where fast reactions and quick thinking are required.
Former Canadian Olympic swim team member Kate Brambley agrees. “A cup of coffee on race day was what put it all together for me. It was an integral step in my morning preparation.”
For Jennifer Button, member of Canada’s 2000 Olympic roster in Athens, Greece, coffee was a long-time part of her pre-race routine. “I can’t remember a competition where I didn’t have a cup of coffee an hour or two before my race. It definitely gave me the edge I needed!”
So, since caffeine is the kick in our coffee, and coffee is arguably the most abundant, affordable and delicious source of the daily boost that millions of people around the world have come to rely on each day, embrace your inner athlete and raise a fresh cup to our Canadian competitors!
By: Kelly Doody