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Coffee and the Olympics

What’s one connection with coffee and the Olympics movement. Sure, athletes around the world drink coffee, but in 1932 Brazilian athletes thought of a unique way to finance their participation in that year’s Los Angeles games.

In 1932, today’s airline routes had yet to be established and the Brazilian team instead chartered a ship to carry them from Brazil all the way to the United States. In addition to the athletes and their equipment and their trainers and families the ship was also loaded to the gunnels with coffee beans which were sold on route north.

Incidentally caffeine has since 2004 been legal under Olympic rules, and it is popular with athletes. Prior to that date caffeine has variously been on and off the banned list of substances because of its performance enhancing status. Caffeine occurs in a wide variety of foods and the doses that people use to enhance their performance are hard to distinguish from normal use. As a result, the World Anti-Doping Agency dropped their ban in 2004.

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