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Silver medalist Dawn Harper will stick her finger in some grease, she said, to fulfill her need for junk food.
For four long years, they have resisted the siren call of the greasy hamburger and the enticing whispers of the milkshake.
Now that their competition in London is done, several U.S. Olympians are done fighting the urge to break their strict diets. Bring on the fries, pizza and steak, and let 100-meter hurdles silver medalist Dawn Harper show the way.
“I want something bad,’’ Harper told TODAY.com. “I will find grease and dip my finger into it.’’
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Gold medal-winning swimmer Matt Grevers celebrated his Olympic run with a run to McDonald's.
When Harper finally returns to her home in East St. Louis in late September at the end of the international track season, she wants her family to pretend it’s late November.
“This is really bad,’’ she said. “I told my family I want a Thanksgiving meal prepared, with all the fixings.”
Before she gets to her turkey feast, Harper will have to settle for something frozen in London. She plans on having some Pinkberry, “since there’s no Cold Stone.’’
Swimmer Matt Grevers had something similar in mind after he finished his competition with a gold medal in the 100-meter backstroke and a silver in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay.
“I went to McDonald’s and had a vanilla milkshake,’’ he said. “It was delicious.”
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Gymnast John Orozco had a feast that "destroyed" his stomach after competition was over.
When these finely-tuned athletes are ready to stop counting calories, their bodies aren’t always ready for the shock of a cholesterol tidal wave.
“I had pizza, chicken nuggets from McDonald’s, and I had a big cookie,’’ gymnast John Orozco told TODAY.com. “That was it for me. After that my stomach was destroyed.”
The 19-year-old from the Bronx was on a diet of protein, lean meats and salad leading up to the games, where he did not earn a medal in the individual or team competition.
“Maybe that (diet) didn’t work for me,’’ he said. “I was too weak.”
Gregory Bull / AP
Aly Raisman's post-games guilty pleasure is pizza, while teammate Gabby Douglas is going to hit up a Mongolian grill.
The guilty pleasures of Orozco’s gold medal-winning counterparts on the women’s gymnastics team run the gamut from pizza (Aly Raisman) to a Mongolian grill (Gabby Douglas), while U.S. shooter Jamie Gray made a special order after winning the gold in the 50-meter rifle three-position.
“I’m a healthy eater, normally,’’ Gray said. “[After competing] I went to the USA House and had a nice rare steak. It was awesome. They didn’t have it in the buffet so the chef made it and brought it out himself.’’
Not all athletes go completely off the wagon. “[I want] a giant slice of gluten-free pizza!’’ said pole vault gold medalist Jenn Suhr. “I follow a gluten-free diet, but I can’t wait for some good pizza.’’
Food cravings are also a reminder of home for the Americans thousands of miles across the pond. Mexican-born distance runner Leo Manzano, who became the first American to medal in the 1,500-meter race since 1968 when he took silver, is craving some of his mother’s flour tortillas at home in Austin, Texas.
“Flour tortillas are not as good for you, but they taste better,” he said.
Fellow Austin resident Michael Tinsley, who won the silver medal in the 400 hurdles, has his own hometown agenda.
“I really want to have a burger from Mighty Fine,’’ Tinsley said. “They have the best burgers in Austin. They’re big and juicy and neatly made!”
Some Olympians aren't craving food, but company: Suhr said her first order of business when she gets home will be going to the babysitter to pick up her dog, a Great Pyrenees named Tundra, and her cat, Morris.
Missy Franklin smooches her pooch, Ruger. The two Skyped while she was in London.
Swimmer Nathan Adrian is also waiting to see his dogs, a pair of pound puppies named Boo (after the character in "Monster’s Inc.") and Sully. Adrian said he has been Skyping with his family but since you can’t Skype pets, he has missed his dogs.
Don’t tell teenage swimming phenom Missy Franklin that you can’t Skype with pets. Franklin pined for her 9-year-old, 110-pound Alaskan Malamute named Ruger so much that she had a Skype session in London with the canine simply sitting in front of the camera. When she gets home to Centennial, Colo., she plans to “cuddle my dog for like 20 days straight.’’
Finally, if there aren’t any pets or burgers waiting for them at home, Olympians could always blow off steam the old-fashioned way, like Grevers plans on doing.
“I want to stay out late and socialize,” he said.
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