Eating For The Gold: The Diets Of Olympians

By Alli Sands

In just a few days, the XXII Winter Olympic Games will begin in Sochi, Russia. Athletes from around the world will face the fiercest competition of their careers. So they must prepare their bodies for the challenge, not to mention the intense physical demands of participating in an Olympic sport. So how do Olympians eat prior to a worldwide athletic event? Good question.


Angela Ruggiero, member of the women’s Team USA Hockey Team, focuses on eating frequent small meals and snacks that include lean proteins, wholesome carbohydrates and healthy fats. The hockey player’s favorite pre-game snack is a whole-grain bagel with peanut butter and banana or a Lara Bar.

Speed Skating

The most decorated American Winter Olympic athlete of all time, Apolo Ohno, shares that his favorite recovery meal after an intense practice or match is extra spicy coconut chicken curry. “It’s the perfect recovery food, with good carbohydrates from rice and potatoes and protein from the chicken. You can make it as spicy or sweet as you like,” commented Ohno. Female speed skating record holder Catherine Raney says that her staple snack before a game is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, even though it sounds cliche.

MAMMOTH, CA - JANUARY 17:  Hannah Teter rides to a third place finish during the Women's Halfpipe Final U.S. Olympic Qualification #4 at the 2014 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain Resort on January 17, 2014 in Mammoth, California.

Hannah Teter (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)


Gold medalist in the 2006 Winter Olympics, Hannah Teter is on an organic-only diet. Teter says, “I don’t go to restaurants that don’t serve organic—ever.”


Crossing over from her wins at the Summer Olympics, Lolo Jones recently qualified for the US Women’s Bobsled team. To bulk up to be a bobsledder, Jones went on a 9,000-calorie diet that included two 1,365-calorie protein shakes and late-night trips to McDonald’s for bacon double cheeseburgers.


Bode Miller, who is going to the Winter Olympics for the fifth time, was raised on an organic farm that had no running water or electricity. The five-time medalist has been a vegetarian his entire life.

Depending on the sport an athlete is competing in and their individual body type, caloric intake recommendations can vary, but all nutritionists insist that diets are well balanced. Ultimately, it’s most important that an Olympian’s body is as healthy as can be for the demands of competing in the Winter Games.

Read about Competitive Eating.

Stop in at the Man Cave Daily, where the women are hot and the beer is cold.

Alli Sands is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on


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