Thursday, 21 July 2011

The allure of the golden arches

A small column caught my notice in the Evening Standard last night on my way home from work. It announced McDonalds’ intentions to open their largest ever restaurant yet during the course of the Olympics. So far, lots of people, (including Olympic athlete Amir Khan), have been questioning whether it’s appropriate to have a fast food giant supporting the world’s greatest sporting event (particularly given the worrying levels of obesity around the globe).

What interested me however, was the fact that there would be a McDonalds in the athletes’ village and media centre. Now back when I worked in the Sydney athletes’ village, a few things struck me as remarkable – and one of these was the endless queue for the McDonalds outlet in the dining hall. In spite of the fact that there was quite simply every single type of cuisine that you could ever want or need, McDonalds still proved the most popular meal at whatever time of the day you walked in there. And given that most people there were supposed to be finely honed athletes or their management, this really surprised me.

I also noticed that many of the third world nations seemed to like going there the most – although maybe that was more to do with the novelty factor? Either way, I don’t expect London 2012 will be any different. And when you consider 50,000 Big Macs, 180,000 potions of fries and 30,000 milkshakes will be served over the 29 days of the Olympic and Paralympic Games across the four announced venues, it doesn’t matter whether you like it or not: McDonalds has cast its spell.

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