Olympic athletes are so obsessed with McDonald’s, the fast-food giant is limiting the amount of free food Olympians can order.
The McDonald’s location in the Olympic Village is free for athletes and coaches, reports the Washington Post. But due to extreme demand from hungry Olympians, the Post says the location was forced to cap the number of items that a single person could order at 20.
While 20 items may seem like plenty of food, the Washington Post reports that some customers want even more. Athletes can order extra items, but if they do, their orders drop in priority, meaning they’ll have to wait longer for their food.
Still, the promise of free food is appealing enough to Olympians that they’re more than ready to wait in a line of 50-plus people for fries, Big Macs, and McMuffins. With few other options in the area, there is always a long line outside the location, and athletes have proven they’re willing to wait.
Line at Athletes Village McDonald's, 4 pm. Don't let them tell you healthy eating is the key to making Olympics. pic.twitter.com/qfMtiJ3wSN— John Branch (@JohnBranchNYT) August 3, 2016
Despite the fact that most Olympians are in peak physical condition, many have an intense love for McDonald’s.
Sawan Serasinghe, a member of the Australian badminton team, posted a picture on Sunday with what appears to be 22 McDonald’s items. “Now it’s time to eat some junk food after months of eating clean!” reads the caption.
Wow what a week it has been in Rio! Have to say I am disappointed about the match today. We definitely had a good chance to stretch the match to three sets toward the end of the second set but couldn't close it out. We would have loved to end our first Olympic campaign with a win against a much higher ranked pair. Although having said that, there are lots of good things to learn from the matches in the last three days playing against more experienced pairs. Can't wait to go back home to start training and keep on improving! Just want to say thanks again to everyone back home for the on going support. Definitely motivated me to fight hard on court everyday! ❤️ Now it's time to eat some junk food after months of eating clean! 😀
“By the final few days when most sports are finished, [McDonald’s] can barely keep up as each athlete lines up to order 27 cheese burgers, 40 chicken McNuggets, 12 sundaes and a Diet Coke before collecting the food and walking away without needing to pay,” Australian Olympic swimmer Melanie Wright wrote in an article about the Olympic Village in The Courier Mail.
While McDonald’s is spending thousands of dollars giving away the free food, the Olympics provide a major marketing opportunity.
The International Olympic Committee is enforcing extremely strict rules on which brands can post the high-profile official Olympic hashtags on social media. As a long-time sponsor, McDonald’s is one of the few brands that can tweet using the #Rio2016 and #TeamUSA hashtags. That social media bonus—plus high-profile athletes posting about visiting the Olympics Village McDonald’s on Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat—is worth much more to McDonald’s than the cost of providing 20 free Big Macs for 11,000 hungry Olympians.