Here’s How Many Calories Winter Olympians Eat Daily, And It Would Suck To Be A Ski Jumper
I’m still struggling with the value and importance I place on the Winter Olympics. I’ve never seen a curling arena or heard of anyone practicing shooting a gun while cross country skiing, and now I’m supposed to deem these sports the pinnacle of human evolution? I’m trying to give in for my great country, and I did feel an overwhelming sense of pride when Shaun White won America its 100th gold in Winter Olympics history, but I’ve also been on a snowboard. Snowboarding is popular, accessible, and physically impressive. I’m trying to hero-worship lugers. I really am.
One thing I can respect about all these athletes is the dedication they demonstrate to their sport, no matter how obscure. For years leading up to the Winter Olympics, four dietitians work with Team USA to create nutrition plans.
According to Vox, Team USA shipped 85 pallets weighing hundreds of pounds worth of food and equipment to South Korea for its 244 athletes. Athletes in different sports burn varying numbers of calories, thus their diets vary immensely.
Ski jumpers, for example, eat as little as 1,300 per day and typically weigh up to 10 or more pounds less in the days before competition compared to their normal bodyweight.
“They come from a large height, come down, and fly as far as they can, so they have to weigh extremely light. The lighter you are, you fly farther,” said Susie Parker Simmons, one of two senior sports nutritionists with the United States Olympic Committee.
A typical dinner for a female ski jumper includes one and a half cups of vegetables, 3 ounces of meat, and a half cup of grains.
Cross-country skiers have the highest energy expenditure of any sport due to the immense upper and lower body strength to push through the snow. Vox reports that men on average may eat 7,000 calories per day, with women close behind at 5,000.
A typical dinner for a female cross-country skier, Parker-Simmons claims, consists of a bun or roll with 4 ounces of meat, a cup of veggies, a cup of quinoa, a cup of baked potato wedges, and a yogurt and fruit.
Figure skating sensation Adam Rippon eats only oats and almond milk for breakfast, a healthier intake than what he was putting down in 2016.
“It was 2016, and Rippon was subsisting mostly on a daily diet of three slices of whole grain bread topped with miserly pats of the spread I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter,” Times sports reporter Karen Crouse wrote. “He supplemented his ‘meals’ with three cups of coffee, each sweetened with six packs of Splenda.”
Rippon helped the US win a bronze medal in figure skating on Sunday.