Coca-Cola chief: our Olympic critics are wrong

The chief executive of Coca-Cola has defended the role of Olympic sponsors, saying that without them the Games would not be anything like as rich an event.

The chief executive of Coca-Cola, Muhtar Kent, has defended the role of Olympic sponsors, saying that without them the Games would not be anything like as rich an event and would probably include fewer countries.

charlescawley: The ugly truth is that the sponsors have only paid a small fraction of the cost of the whole event.  And this fellow is claiming the show would be so much less without their money? It might be much less sour if the ugly sales pitch of companies producing, in effect, major health problems across the Western World were sent packing. The Olympics are about health and competitive success not cheap addictive and health endangering manufactured 'foods'. The unpleasant presence of industrial addictive food manufacturers has no place in the Olympics.  That they have managed to dominate so much is signal of the rot and careless arrogance of those responsible for organising them. The companies are only doing what any efficient company will do; they have grabbed the opportunity and made the best of it.  The real culprits are the greedy organisers and the Olympic movement for this disgraceful betrayal of basic principles. These organisers claim that people will be inspired to do more sport and emulate their sporting heros. Yet, at the same time, they profit from sponsors who will sell food that will do exactly the opposite to the bodies of millions, hundreds of millions of people. They will help produce fat unhealthy and unhappy people. The sponsors so keen on health and fittness must believe that sport is not really for little people… it is really only for the chosen few. There in lies the truth. They spout 'sport for all', when, in fact, they expect £billions for the real benefit of a few whilst providing a passing spectacle and entertainment at an obscene cost carried by all those not in that select body of sporting fanatics. The divisive expression, 'Olympic family', says it all; families put their members first excluding others.

Sew247: After paying £26 for two fish and chips and two 330ml lagers, I decided to give the Olympics catering a big f@&k you. I've now been to five events and spent £0 at the last four, even ensuring to carry an empty water bottle. When you go around the park you can see a lot of other people are doing the same. Thats exactly what happens when you squeeze too hard. Total p1$$ take by LOCOG, but glad to beat them at their own game. Apart from this, the events were fantastic, as we're the venues.

RichPensionersNiceCon: Thank you thank you I so agree with all your comments. We in USA understand the vital role between junk foods and the so called health service 220,000 people die every year here because of medical errors. So the business guys have a master plan that creates cash cows it is simply this. Offer out of date or fast foods at schools across the nation to make certain that more and more people are suckered into our hospitals just to keep the dollars rolling in. That is why a democrat from Florida got up i the house and declared Republicans would rather let people die than accept universal healthcare. Alan Grayson was not re elected and the healthcare companies profit soared.

FunkyGiraffe: I suspect Kent Bey, your father would be most disappointed with this statement. He was a Great man, may he rest in peace. Coca Cola the official drink McDonalds the official food Cadbury the official chocolate Must mean that type 2 diabetes is the official diseases…

jerryj: Time to stop this obscene roundabout - let's have a permanent Olympic stadium in Athens/Olympus.   No more pathetic competition between countries to be the host nation willing to spend stupid sums.  No more ridiculous corporate sponsorship with undeserved privileges .  No more corrupt 'local organising committees'  No more competition to see who can waste the most money on unnecessary 'opening' ceremonies.Just one pure sporting Olympics.  With honest and fair ticketing policies. Just one permanent site, one organising committee (preferably dominated by athletes).  Put true sporting achievement the only criteria for success. 

georgesilver: SEB COE CA COLA OLYMPICS. Has a nice ring to it.   He's now all set to become Coca Cola roving representative.   Millions in the Bank beckons. All aboard the Gravy Train. Just a thought: If everyone was to stop buying the rubbish of these corporate sponsors they would soon loose their power to control our lives.

RightWingGraham: Considerably less people will be buying it now.

JohnBloom: Please read Gillian Tett in the Financial Times.  She writes, "The US has become noticeably more obese since the 1980s. Government data show, for example, that some 70 per cent of Americans are considered overweight – and 36 per cent of those are deemed obese. That is almost twice the proportion seen three decades ago, leaving America the world’s fattest industrialised nation."  Mr Kent is right when he says that the US will come out of recession quicker but he fails to mention that it will do so for reasons that are detrimental to the health and well-being, both physical and mental, of the majority of its citizens. You can have a booming "successful" economy if you farm your poor people like animals, feed them processed and chemical laden food, dull their brains with incessant advertising and house them in "trailers" or make shift lean-tos.  Personally, I would rather we did not go down that route.

david37: I wish Coca Cola would pick up the bill for me and all my neighbours who have been so badly inconvenienced for months now by the massive alterations to the Canford Bottom roundabout between Wimborne and Ferndown in East Dorset. This has been done just so that Coe and the other Olympic celebs can swish through on their way down to Weymouth. To hell with the locals!

RightWingGraham: Coca Cola's involvement in the olympics has put me off both the olympics and coca cola. Additionally their junk drink has no place in athletic sport.

mister_murry: Its not exactly a health drink being full of lovely aspartame

SeaBeeUK:  Don't exaggerate, it contains aspartame. If it was full of aspartame then you would die.

TruthDestroysWorlds: The Olympics are now all about corporate profits. They are about conditioning the masses to be consumers of garbage that they do not in fact need, and which in most cases actually do them harm. Look at the Aspartame (Aspartic acid) that Coca Cola adds to its diet range of drinks for instance, it is a proven carcinogen that actually leads to brain tumours and miscarraiges, amongst many other negative things. Sweet Misery (The truth about Aspartame)- Then you have the MSG (mono-sodium-glutamate) that McDonalds adds to its crappy food in order to make it taste better. Again, it is another chemical (excitotoxin) which has an untold number of negative side effects when it is consumed. Migraines and depression to name but a few. The truth about MSG - These two poisons alone are now doing untold damage to our society as a whole, and as such they ought to be removed from circulation. A thing which has actually happened with Aspartame in Japan, where it has now been banned.

RightWingGraham: The full fat and full sugar versions were bad, but the dangerous tasteless aspartame products are something I avoid like the plague.  Using a sporting event to peddle poison will backfire, which is a good thing,

andrewj: Cheesy  smile, Gold watch, expensive suit.   This guy epitomizes the devil at the top of our economies. 

Antiehypocrite: The IOC lost all credibility when they allowed McDonalds to sponsor the games. I don't see why they don't allow tobacco companies to be involved. After all, with all the drug use involved in the Olympics, they are hardly about promoting health and fitness.

berich: The chief executive of Coca-Cola seems to think that the sponsors made the London Olympic's richer. It is the taxpayer and London council tax payer who made this event worth a punt by the sponsors. 'We' have paid and without choice or complaint and without having to defend our colective position as sponsors of this vast majority of this sucessfull event, and will be paying (the interest ? to an assortment of equally benifiting groups) for ten years ? No wonder his interviewes are rare, his speal about coke's product's is just an excuse for him to talk of himself ? and only because Coke has put in what amounts to almost nothing, a sum that will be more than recouped ! a profitable part of the billions that have gone into a national event. I am sick of those who can it seems only hijack the fantastic efforts of other individuals, all of whom are modest in their and their teams accomplishment, personality that fill the world with hope. Mr. Kent is only correct in his observations of no bridges, he should build some but I fear he like so many politicians or other organisations would prefer not to change a light bulb ? I find myself asking is this to keep us in the dark ! Intellectual rights that Kent talks of seem to extend to tax payers not being able to take even bottled water in to the events, that fine line is serfdom, which extends to partnerships that look to me like blackmail, in that sponsorship has terms that are best observed in balance sheets ? As for his US observations they are equally off the point, the Olympics celebrate similarity not segregation, a courprat lifeline ?

bluebirdsfly: Why do we need a bigger and 'richer' Olympics anyway! Unfortunately no one with any influence has any interest in making it smaller and more modest. We can see the results in Beijing, Athens and Sidney and they are not pretty. The only reason that sponsors are there is to make money - the new Olympic ideal?

oldbirkonian: Which athlete admits to being fuelled by burgers, fries, coke, doughnuts shakes etc ?

DirtyRotter: Corporatism - knows no borders, respects no cultures.

$13513699: Dear Mr Kent,  just to inform you that your aggressive sponsorship of the Coca Cola McLympics and your support for this corporate jamboree, which comes at vast expense and inconvenience for us plebs, has resulted in me boycotting all your products, and I have been encouraging all my friends and relations to do the same - we have no power to do anything else to express our displeasure at the way these games have been foisted on us, for apparently no benefit as we, the British Public haven't even been able to get reasonably priced tickets to get in! I am now a Pepsi person. I would have boycotted McDonalds too, but I never eat the disgusting trash which they peddle as food, anyway.

RightWingGraham: Me too. And I haven't been able to get any tickets to get in, at any price. I'm just a tax paying sucker that pays for it all. I won't forget.

chris_xxxx: Lets sponsor the Olympics with sugar loaded water, saturated fat burgers and low end beer.

SeaBeeUK:  low end what?

bogwart: The problem is these major american corporations, like their government, are riddled with corruption.  Mr Kent has preached this little homily so many times that doubtless he believes it.   He makes much of the reduction of sugars in Coca-Cola as if this was a healthy initiative of the company, rather than a measure they were obliged to carry out in response to government pressure and protest from groups and individuals.   He says that without the money Coke and other sponsors provide there would be fewer countries entering.  So what?  Where is it written that every country should enter the Games?  Many small countries would love to have a national airline, but if the cash isn't there then they can't have one.   As for protecting their investment, this is the heart of it.  It is an investment, plain and simple.  In the "old" Games people would turn up aboard their chariots, horses or wives and compete.  Their reward was a laurel wreath.  Nowadays Olympic Committees for many contries reward sucess financially.  For instance american athletes who win gold are paid $25,000 per medal, Italy will pay $182,000, even Russia pays $135,000.  Maybe if we didn't have to put up with this hypocrisy we wouldn't need the hundreds of millions that are paid for blackmailing the host nation. As for his prognostications about the world economy, Mr Kent would be better advised to stick to stirring vats of sugary substances.  If he believes that the US will emerge from the global financial crisis at all, let alone ahead of Europe, then the Atlanta heat has addled his brain. This man made $29.1 million last  year.  Maybe that accounts for the patronising attitude.  Between him and Romney I've heard enough from these drones for a while.