Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Beijing Olympics: Athletes call out ‘impossible to eat’ food served at quarantine hotel

Food doesn’t seem to be the highlight of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Russian biathlete Valeria Vasnetsova posted a rather unappealing photo of a meal she received for “breakfast, lunch and dinner for five days already” at one of Beijing’s quarantine hotels. 

Vasnetsova’s plate consisted of pasta, potatoes, an indistinguishable red sauce, meat on the bone and plain chicken. The plate lacked greens and, according to Vasnetsova, edibility. 

The Russian said she could only eat three handfuls of pasta a day “because it’s just impossible to eat the rest of the food,” causing her to “sleep all day because I don’t even have the strength to get out of bed.” She added her “bones are sticking out” from losing “a lot of weight.” 

“My stomach hurts, I’m very pale and I have huge black circles around my eyes,” Vasnetsova wrote in a since-deleted Feb. 3 Instagram post. “I want all this to end. I cry every day. I’m very tired.” 

The quarantine hotels’ food, Vasnetsova claimed, is particularly bad for athletes. Vasnetsova knew as much once she grabbed the food left by her door then scanned the hallway for other boxes, including one with prawns, broccoli, salad and fresh fruit for her team doctor. 

“I honestly don’t understand, why is there this attitude to us, the athletes?!” Vasnetsova wrote.

Someone in charge seemed to have heard Vasnetsova’s complaints, as Russian biathlon team spokesperson Sergei Ayeryanov told the Associated Press she received a better meal – salmon, cucumbers, sausages and yogurt – and would soon get a stationary bike. 

But Vasnetsova isn’t the only Olympian complaining. Finland ice hockey coach Jukka Jalonen said one of his players who’s been staying in a quarantine hotel, Marko Antilla, is “not getting good food.” German team chief Dirk Schimmelpfennig went even further, calling the hotels’ living conditions “unreasonable” and demanding additional food deliveries for athletes. 

With the Beijing Winter Olympics set to end Feb. 20, there’s less than two weeks to rectify the athletes’ food situation. 

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