The official restaurant for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games was that great Australian institution – McDonald’s. The Sydney 2000 organisers probably had no say in the matter, as McDonald’s had been an official sponsor of the Games since 1976.
Over the years, the International Olympic Committee faced criticism from public health campaigners for its association with products that are seen to be unhealthy, such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. The opportunity to market these products with a halo of sporting endeavour and fitness was seen to be incompatible with the ethics behind the events.
McDonald’s was part of the IOC’s top sponsors program that contributes more than $1 billion in every four-year cycle for the Games. There are estimates that McDonald’s spent more than $100 million each Olympic Games, securing the exclusive global rights to use the Games and its trademarks in their advertising. Their contract, which put them in a position to be the official Olympic restaurant, ran through to the 2020 Tokyo summer Olympics.
However, in June 2017 it was announced that McDonald’s were withdrawing early from their sponsorship arrangement. It remains to be seen whether another food chain will step into the breach. If not, perhaps any future Olympics held here will see a different Olympic restaurant. A pity the Swagman is defunct.