We will never, ever know this for certain, but we imagine being an Olympic athlete is pretty great. After you get past the years of pre-dawn training sessions and strict nutrition limits, once you make it to the big O we imagine life is filled with complimentary sportswear, People magazine photo shoots, and sifting through endorsement offers.
One benefit we just discovered, but makes perfect sense: free McDonald’s! The Golden Arches have already set up shop in the Olympic village in Gangneung, setting up two restaurants near the ice skating and hockey competitions, including one that resembles a McDonald’s meal. Apparently some athletes are taking advantage of their post-training lifestyle and heading straight to a Big Mac or 12 after they finish competing. At the 2016 summer games, Business Insider reports, the chain had to limit orders to 20 items “due to intense demand.”
While that perk remains, many are noting that McDonald’s has a smaller role in the Olympics this year than it has in the past. The Washington Post reports that the chain cut its ties with the International Olympic Committee last June, ending a 20-year partnership. While McDonald’s will still host those two restaurants, its media presence will be limited to running “advertisements using the Olympic name and five-ring logo in South Korea, but not in any of the other 100 countries where the chain operates.”
This smaller Olympic presence is a cost-cutting measure of the chain, but also helps minimize some negative p.r.: “On top of business economics, McDonald’s also has suffered bad publicity for sponsoring the Olympics. As concerns about obesity and nutrition have grown, global health groups from the World Cancer Research Fund to the World Obesity Federation have grown more vocal in their criticism of the partnership, which they say has given ‘a halo of gold . . . [to] poor nutrition.’”