Feeding Olympic Athletes

What if you were in charge of food service at the Olympic Village in Nagano, Japan? Plan on preparing five million meals! You need to feed 15,000 hungry athletes, coaches, and officials from about 200 countries as well as 40,000 volunteers. That challenge was met by the Food and Beverage Department of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG) at the 1996 Summer Olympics. During the 33 days that the Olympic Village was open, a 75,000 square-foot tent with a 3,500 seat capacity became the official Dining Hall for the Summer Games. Food was served at the Dining Hall 2

ARAMARK Corporation, food service contractor for the Atlanta Olympics, developed 550 recipes for its "World Menu" of ethnically diverse meals to serve its customers from around the globe. A nutritional analysis of each recipe was provided in the three official languages of the Olympics. These pictograms were used at each food station to help athletes easily identify the foods being served. This was especially important for athletes whose eating plans included special nutritional or religious requirements.

Over 30 different breads were offered with each meal. The most popular food areas for the athletes were the pasta and fresh fruit stations. To accommodate athletes when they could not eat in the Dining Hall, Olympic Lunch Boxes were provided. Approximately 50,000 box lunches were prepared. Boxed lunches were transported to competition sites in refrigerated trucks to ensure food safety.

The Nutrition Kiosk

These field hockey players from Spain visited ARAMARK's Nutrition Kiosk to view nutrition analysis data of food served in the Dining Hall.


Analyses of all 550 recipes, sports nutrition resources and fact sheets, food dictionaries, descriptions of ethnic foods and traditions, an atlas, and a computer and printer were all available at the Kiosk.


Food Facts from the 1996 Olympic Village

Listed below are actual quantities of food and water served during the 33 days the Dining Hall operated at the Olympic Village in Atlanta.

  • Water: 550,000 gallons
  • Milk: 70,000 gallons
  • Pasta: 52,000 pounds (dry weight)
  • Rice: 34,000 pounds (dry weight)
  • Beef/Lamb: 280,000 pounds
  • Poultry: 150,000 pounds
  • Cheese: 90,000 pounds
  • Eggs: 576,000 fresh eggs
  • Margarine: 32,800 pounds
  • Butter: 30,000 pounds
  • Rolls: 20,000 rolls
  • Apples: 750,000 apples
  • Peaches: 226,000 peaches
  • Strawberries: 23,342 pints
  • Tomatoes: 17,988 pounds
  • Asparagus: 15,498 pounds
  • Melons: 15,500 melons
  • Bean Sprouts: 2,800 pounds
  • Raisins: 800 pounds
  • Lettuce: 9,300 heads
  • Parsley: 10,827 bunches

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© April, 1998, Montana State University-Bozeman