Nathan Deeks, an Australian Champion racewalker, appeared in a full-page color advertisement for the fast food restaurant McDonalds, saying that he eats ‘Maccas’ after his events, including at the Olympic Games.
I know that he was probably only trying to earn a few sponsorship bucks in return for all the effort he puts into his training, but as a sporting role model, it was such a disgusting thing to promote eating undoubtedly unhealthy food.
I don’t mind that he had the occasional fast food snack, but it is not right for an athlete representing Australia to say it so publicly. It does not say much about the dietitians at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) if one of their athletes comes out of there with this attitude that this is OK to do.
A few days later, a very similar-looking ad was published (obviously on purpose), with an ex-Australian Olympian and NBA star Luc Longley, promoting healthy eating, saying that he never considered eating junk food before or after competing. The ad was a welcome response to the McDonalds one, which needed to be done, but I don’t think enough ho-ha was made of it.
The government spends millions of dollars trying to address the problem of childhood obesity, including trying to get more people active and into sports, and millions are spent on the AIS getting athletes including Nathan Deeks properly prepared for the Olympic Games. I don’t think he has done his long-time supporter (AIS) any good and hopefully, he got into trouble, all for a small financial reward.