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Getting a taste of the Olympics

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Betty Crocker joins Olympic movement at Salt Lake

With Christmas out of the way the countdown – or hype and hysteria, depending on your point of view – for the Salt Lake City Olympics has begun. For the next month television viewers, newspaper readers and Web surfers will increasingly be bombarded with information about the first Games of the new millennium.

The Olympics are many things. They are about sport, about striving for excellence, about nations coming together for friendly competition, about national pride. And of course they are all about money.

There are few aspects of the Olympics that don’t come with a price tag, and there is no shortage of companies willing to pay to be part of the Games. The Salt Lake City Olympics have official suppliers for everything from metal detectors (Garrett Metal Detectors) to natural gas (Questar). Naturally they also have official suppliers of food and drink.

Korbel Champagne Cellars is the official supplier of sparkling wine. The winning athletes at Salt Lake won’t be handed bottles of champagne on the podium to shake up and spray everyone within a 10-metre radius, as Grand Prix race winners are, but even in Utah (where you have to ask for a wine list in restaurants) there will be opportunities to celebrate with a little bubbly.

To get Olympic athletes going in the morning there will be plenty of Kellogg cereals on breakfast tables in the Olympic village. Kellogg Company has supported American Olympic teams since 1923. The company will also be supplying Pop-Tarts and Eggo waffles.

The milk that Olympians will be pouring on the Kellogg cereals at Salt Lake will be supplied by Smith’s, a western regional division of the Kroger Company that is the official dairy milk supplier to the 2002 Games.

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) knew there would be some cold Utah afternoons for Olympic athletes to contend with, and nothing warms an Olympian up and makes them feel good inside like a bowl of hot soup. So they made the Campbell Soup Company the official soup supplier. Campbell is also supporting the U.S. Olympic team by selling a series of limited edition soup mugs.

And what’s an Olympics without an official nut? We’re not talking about Eddie (The Eagle) Edwards, the near-sighted British ski jumper. Diamond of California, the world's largest processor of walnuts and marketer of a variety of culinary and in-shell nuts, is an official supplier of "heart-healthy nut products." Diamond says its involvement is part of its long-term commitment to educating Americans about the health benefits of walnuts and other nuts.

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