Food at London Olympics (How to Run 10.29 Eating Crap)

With the London Olympics 3 weeks away, what will the food be like?  I am so spoiled with Italian food that I may be in for a big surprise.

I am used to an appetizer like bruschetta or bufala mozzarella cheese and tomatoes, a pasta dish, followed by a meat dish covered in sauce (served with crusty bread, of course!), a vegetable dish, wine and water.  And this is LUNCH.  Usually you can get this at a restaurant for 10 or 12 euros.  Add an extra euro for espresso afterwards but never ask for milk in the caffè or cappuccino.


Remember the article on 100 meters WR, Photo Finish and Timekeeping 100 Years Later?  On how we went from 10.6 HT to 9.58 in 100 years?

I came across an old newspaper clipping from The Times’ Feb 26, 2004 edition, and it pointed out how we decreased 0.25 seconds for the 100 meters in the past 40 years?

The article compared the diets of England’s Darren Campbell vs. Peter Radford, and point of the article was biased towards how today’s modern “science” has done little to break sprinting records.

Darren Campbell was a bronze medalist from the 2003 World Championships with a best of 10.04 for 100 meters.  He retired in 2006.

On the other hand, Peter Radford’s “electronic world record” of 10.29 was set in 1958.   SIDENOTE: It is interesting to note that in 1976, the IAAF required fully automatic timing (FAT) to the hundredth of a second for events under 400 meters.  So in 1976, the WR for 100 meters went from 9.9 (hand timed) shared by 10 men, to 9.95 (FAT) set by Jim Hines’ 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

I’ll repeat:  Has training, technology and nutrition changed that much in 40 years to produce a decrease of 0.25 seconds?

Japan's Shingo Suetsugu, left, Britain's Darren Campbell, centre and John Capel of the US, head for the line during their Men's 200 meters semi-final at the World Athletics Championships in the Stade de France, Saint Denis, north of Paris, Thursday Aug. 28, 2003.(AP Photo/Rusty Kennedy)

Food in London:  Is this for real?

What was interesting from the article was the comparison of the two British diets.

Sample Meal Plan for Darren Campbell:

  • Breakfast: 3-4 boiled eggs, 2 pieces brown toast, 1 glass orange juice
  • Lunch: prawn/tuna or chicken salad, bottled water
  • Dinner: 2 chicken breasts, broccoli, bottled water

Sample Meal Plan for Peter Radford:

  • Breakfast: oatmeal with full cream milk and lots of brown sugar
  • Mid-Morning: whole package of of digestive biscuits
  • Lunch: plate of roast pork, apple sauce, cabbage, gravy, bread and butter pudding
  • 6pm: pint of bitter shandy and a very large white roll with cheese
  • 10pm (Main meal… and I thought Italians were bad with 8pm dinners): 3 large lamb chops, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, gravy, 4 large slices of white bread, large piece of apple pie with custard, 2 bananas, cup of hot chocolate
  • Plus: 8 cups of tea throughout the day, each with 3 large tablespoons of sugar

My thoughts? YUCK!

Well, Peter Radford’s diet resembles more of a diet for swimmer Michael Phelps or marathoner Bill Rodgers.   The article clipping doesn’t say whether Darren Campbell took supplements. 

What saved Radford’s day was probably all the food mentioned above was home made and not processed.  Slow cooking.  I don’t see Snickers or M&Ms or any other package foods listed. As Jack Lalanne would say, if it has a label on it, DON’T eat it.    Conversely, Eric Lepine would say, if it has a bar code on it, DON’T eat it.

But the fact of the matter is Radford still ran 10.29!  Crappy diet and all.

Sadly, I’ll just have to get used to bangers and mash whilst in London.

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
  • Well, I never liked Tyson Gay…I do not have a specific reason for that…such is life…But this scoop is going to make me change my opinion about this guy… : Hi Tyson Pleased to meet you. Actually one of the first laws in sport nutrition is to eat the food which your stomach and body got used with…