When Elite Sports Foster Eating Disorders

February 15, 2018
Updated 4mo ago

The enormous pressure on elite athletes to maintain a lean figure could ultimately change the demographics of who can compete at the Olympics.

That’s according to New York Times sports reporter Karen Crouse, who broke the news that figure skater Adam Rippon succumbed to an eating disorder to maintain his body shape.

“The more it is about appearance, you’re going to get kids in the sport that are younger and younger. You have teenagers whose metabolism is still pretty high and they don’t have these weight issues,” she told Cheddar. “Maybe we are going to see in the future far fewer elite skaters that are 28 years old like Adam.”

Rippon, who won a bronze medal in this year’s Games, revealed to Crouse that he subsisted for a time on a daily diet of three slices of bread with a dab of “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter” and a couple cups of coffee.

He thought the longer, thinner frame would be more aesthetically pleasing to the judges. But a broken foot last year changed his mind.

“He actually thinks that one of the reasons he suffered this injury was that he wasn’t getting enough calcium and other nutrients, and that made his bones brittle,” Crouse said. “He’s now eating much better and actually is ten pounds heavier than he was two years ago when he won that national title. And if you look at him, he has an enviable body.”

Since his injury, Rippon has been workin with a nutritionist with the United States Olympic Committee who’s helped him develop healthier eating habits.