Olympic gold medalists Bonnie Blair and Carl Lewis cheered on members of the McDonald's World Champion Crew, who showed off their skills assembling a "crown, club and heel," to make as many Big Mac sandwiches as possible within a three-minute period. Gold medals were awarded to participants in key categories of speed, technical excellence, teamwork and "smile."
"Today marks a proud Olympic moment for McDonald's as we welcome our award-winning crew from nearly fifty countries," said Jack Greenberg, chairman and CEO of McDonald's Corporation. "Much like the athletes themselves, these outstanding performers have proven themselves to be the best at what they do everyday in their countries."
From the 1.3 million McDonald's crew around the globe, four hundred gold medalists from five continents were chosen following worldwide competitions held this past year at McDonald's 29,000 restaurants in 121 countries. They will proudly serve McDonald's food to Olympic athletes, officials and media at special food service sites in the Olympic Village and Main Media Center.
"I was honored to be selected as a member of the World Champion Crew," said Tusiga "T" Lealaogata of Taylorsville, Utah. "Having the chance to be one of the Big Mac builders here today and meeting Bonnie Blair and Carl Lewis is an experience I'll never forget."
Criteria for selection to the World Champion Crew included service, speed, accuracy, personality and teamwork, which reflect the operational requirements at all McDonald's restaurants. In addition to their food service experiences, the World Champion Crew will attend Olympic events and participate in special recreational activities during their stay in Salt Lake City.
"The Olympics began in my home country, so it's especially exciting for me to be part of the Olympic experience," said Omiros Kordakis of Athens, Greece. "This means a lot to me because I can take what I've learned home with me to share with others as we prepare for the 2004 Summer Games in Athens."
McDonald's became an official Olympic sponsor in 1976 and has a longstanding commitment to the Olympic Movement. At the 1968 Olympic Winter Games, McDonald's airlifted hamburgers to the U.S. athletes competing in Grenoble, France, who reported they were homesick for McDonald's.
The Salt Lake Games mark McDonald's third Olympic Games as a TOP Global Sponsor and the fourth as the Official Restaurant of the Olympic Games.