OH! Magazine - Australian Version August 2016 - Page 6

( Fitness & Motivation ) MICHELLE BRIDGES IT'S TIME FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES! YOU CAN CONTACT MICHELLE VIA: Web: michellebridges.com.au Facebook: Mishy.Bridges Twitter: @mishbridges Instagram: @mishbridges Michelle Bridges shares her thoughts about the unhealthy food sponsors of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. ne of my fondest memories as a kid was watching sport on television with my grandad. Grampsy and I used to sit in front of the telly, roaring in unison as Booney smashed the poms all over the MCG, or as the mighty Newcastle Knights took to the field. O I was a bit young for the Lillee era but I remember him, and I also remember that in those days Benson and Hedges was an iconic brand association with cricket, as was Marlboro with Formula 1 and Winfield with rugby league. These brands became synonymous with their respective sports; which seems pretty weird in today’s health-conscious world. Fast forward to a new century, new thinking, new awareness, and the thought of physical activity being associated with unhealthy products like those seems as distant as a ‘Li-llee, Li-llee’ chant resounding through the SCG. Except of course, in the case of the all new 21st century Olympic Games be held in Rio, which for my money at least has been irrevocably tarnished by having junk food and soft drink manufacturers included as worldwide Olympic Partners. 6 AUGUST 2016 (OH! MAGAZINE) I’m a realist and I understand the commercial nature of the Olympic Games. But I’m figuring that none of these products featured largely in the athlete’s preparation for the Games. Far from it in fact – I’m guessing the only world records that the average junk food peddler can claim is more to do with obesity and all the associated illness that goes with it. Aren’t we getting past this association? Can’t we see through this for what it is – a shameless opportunity to get unhealthy products in front of many people as possible? I get that these are commercial operations and that have a right to advertise their products and sponsor events to increase sales (because they’re not illegal). But aren’t we getting tired of accepting the blatant contradiction of sponsorship from junk food manufacturers of the planet’s premier sporting event? We tell ourselves that it’s alright because the products are legal and the companies that make them have a legal right to advertise and sell them. But that’s what we told ourselves about Benson and Hedges logos scattered all over billboards at the cricket back in the 1980s, which in the cold light of today looks quite incongruous and dumb. Junk food may have squirmed it’s way on to our menus as a legitimate meal choice, but it really isn't. So in the future, will we look back at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with a ‘Gawd! What were we thinking?' You bet we will!