Channel Seven, the Olympic station, predictably gave no coverage yesterday to a David and Goliath stoush that has erupted over McDonald’s efforts to cash in on the athleticism of the Games.

In one-off ads run in yesterday’s Australian and The West Australian, basketball legend and former Olympian Luc Longleyand dual Olympic hockey gold medalist Jenn Morris counterpunched three McDonald’s post-race pig-out testimonials featuring cyclist Anna Meares and athletes Nathan Deakes and Jane Flemming.

Maccas is running global saturation advertising including a “McAustralia Limited Edition Olympic Games Burger” and an Olympic “Champion Kids” promotion.

In his personalised McD’s promotion, Deakes says: “After both the Sydney and Athens Olympics Games, McDonald’s was my very first post-race meal, just like when Mum and Dad took my sister and I after Little Athletics. I really look forward to a thickshake and a Big Mac after I compete — it’s become a bit of a ritual for me, and I plan to do it again in Beijing.”

In the counter-ad, Jenn Morris punches back; “It’s hard to describe how I felt after scoring the final goal in the final game in Sydney. The last thing I thought about was thickshakes, fries and burgers. Junior sport for me meant oranges. Junk food never crossed my mind. Not then, not at the Olympics – and not now.” 

Morris, now Chair of Western Australia’s Healthway health promotion organisation has said: “It’s very disappointing to see the way that sporting champions are being used to promote this type of food.”

Longley, a three-time Olympian says “the idea of eating fast food before or after an Olympic competition never entered my mind. Jumping for that hoop is hard enough without half a kilo of stodge weighing you down.”

The counterpunch advertisements are funded by a consortium of health organisations: the Cancer Council WA, the Cancer Council NSW, the Australian Medical Association, Diabetes WA, the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey