Best Drink Pairings for Watching Olympic Track and Field

You might remember that yesterday we proposed some new track and field events that the Olympic Committee should add to the Games. But because we have literally zero influence with the International Olympic Committee, I don’t think anything will come to fruition on that front.

So the next best thing is to watch the existing events and enjoy a nice adult beverage as you do so. That got us thinking about what drinks would pair best with which events, from the perspective of a spectator. Here’s what we came up with:

Sprints: Shots

Two Shots GIF - Shot Donna Parksandrec - Discover & Share GIFs

Shots are meant to be consumed fast, and what accompanies that kind of speed better than a nice sprint. It could be anything: the 100 meter, the 400 meter, or even the hurdle events. The point is that shots are built for speed, and nothing is faster than a sprint. Maybe only do this once or twice though. If you start taking shots for literally every single sprint event you’re gonna end up at a hospital.

Relays: Flip Cup

Flip Cup GIFs | Tenor

Flip, flip, Flipadelphia! Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I know that flip cup isn’t a type of drink. But it’s a way to drink as part of a relay team. If you haven’t been to a house party in the last 25 years and don’t know what flip cup is, I’ll give a quick explanation. Two teams stand on either of the long ends of a table. In front of each person is a Solo cup with about three ounces of beer in it. When someone say’s “go,” the first person in the team chugs the small amount of beer in the cup, places the cup on the edge of the table, then must flip the cup so that it lands stably upside down on the table. Once the cup lands upside down, the next person on the team does the same thing, and so on until one team gets all of their beer down and all of their cups flipped.

Throwing Events: Beer

Any throwing event such as shot put, javelin, discus, etc. should be watched with a beer in hand. The throwing events are the most classically simple events in my opinion because the idea is “hey, how far can you throw this thing.” I love throwing stuff. Throwing stuff is awesome. But it’s strenuous, outdoors, and the people who compete look like the kinds of people who just love a good beer. I can’t picture a 6’8″, 300-pound man or a 6’2″, 235-pound woman just kicking back with a mild chardonnay after throwing a discus 200 feet. No way, Jose. Those people are throwing their object then popping the top on an ice cold beer. And if that’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you.

Hammer Throw GIFs | Tenor

Distance Running: Wine

Best Drink Treadmill GIFs | Gfycat

There’s a certain level of class to a distance race. It’s not the rock & roll clash of a sprint or the smooth hip-hop of a jumping event. It’s more like classical music. It might start slow, and it might seem like it’s taking longer than it should, but ultimately it’s beautiful to behold because it’s incredible that someone can run 10,000 meters (6.2 miles) in about 27 minutes or so. Twenty-seven minutes is the perfect amount of time to have a couple glasses of wine and start getting that weird middle-aged wine buzz that adults get. And don’t cheap out on some Franzia or whatever. Get something that comes in a bottle and has a cork.

Pentathlon/Heptathlon/Decathlon: Beer Flight

A flight is a sample of several different types of something. Some bars, breweries, and craft brew pubs will offer a flight of beer that is normally half servings of five or so different beers. This means it pairs well with the -athlon events because each -athlon event is basically a sample of several different track and field events. It will help you figure out what goes best with what event. For example, maybe that imperial stout goes with the pole vault and that West Coast IPA goes with the 1,500 meter. Who knows? The point is a multi-discipline event deserves a multi-style beer flight.

The 17 beer tasting flight - Picture of Peticolas Brewing Company, Dallas -  Tripadvisor

Long Jump/Triple Jump: Blended Cocktail

Top 30 Triple Jump GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

Blended cocktails were made for the beach. Daquiris, margaritas, piña coladas, even blended sangria, whatever. And what does the beach have in common with the long jump and triple jump? Sand! And nothing says “sand” like a blended cocktail so you can feel like you’re on a beach. In a pinch you can even grab a Slurpee from 7-Eleven and just add some rum or tequila to that. But the point is if it involves sand, a blended cocktail is the answer. If you really want to go whole hog, put on some Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt while you watch. It really helps bring the beach to you. As an aside: I have watched people do the triple jump hundreds and hundreds of times and still can’t figure out exactly how it’s done.

Steeplechase: Bourbon

Ezekiel Kemboi (KEN) Wins 3000m Steeplechase Gold - London 2012 Olympics on  Make a GIF

The steeplechase might be my favorite obstacle race to watch. It’s basically running around the track jumping over a gymnastics balance beam, and at one point you land in water. It’s actually the human-centric version of the horseback steeplechase, which predates the human steeplechase by several years. And because it’s inspired by a horseback event, the drink needs to have influence from horseback events, and when people think horses they think Kentucky. What does Kentucky drink? Bourbon. Oh, yeah. That truly American spirit that hums with the voice of a million angels as it smoothly makes its way from your lips to your mind. If you decide to really lean into it and make a mint julep while wearing a funny hat, you can get a humanized Kentucky Derby vibe that is tough to beat.

Medal Ceremony: Something from the Gold Medal Country

If you watch the medal ceremonies for the track and field events, it only seems right to honor the gold medalist by drinking something from their home country. Russia wins? Vodka time. A Canadian? Maybe some Crown or maybe a Molson. Greek? Ouzu. Brazil? A nice caipirinha with some Brazilian cachaça. USA? Bourbon or maybe a nice American craft beer. Japan? Saki. You get the idea. You might need to go ahead and stock your liquor cabinet.

Chugging GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

USA! USA! USA!

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