Eat like an Olympian

Linda Conway Eriksson - Contributing Columnist

When I was a child, my mother thought it would be swell if I turned out to be a professional dancer. Not just any old hoofer, however, a ballerina.

I was enrolled in a local studio, where I was exposed to the fundamentals of ballet and tap dancing, along with first level gymnastics and what used to be known as elocution. These were things that every little southern girl was supposed to learn along the way to becoming well rounded.

Forget ballet. I didn’t have the balance, and it took too long to get to the glamorous part (the satin lace-up shoes that would enable me to dance on my toes).

Gymnastics was a complete washout. I could never turn a decent cartwheel and then, there was the balance thing.

Tap dancing was fun. The rhythmic movement and the noise I could make at practice when my steel taps hit my mother’s shiny wood floors was very appealing to me. I remember my mother having headaches around that time but she smiled through them. The only thing standing in the way of my budding career as a tap dancer was my terror at the thought of performing in front of an audience of more than my parents.

Strangely enough, the elocution went well. I have always liked spinning a tale. Speaking took me into other places right along with my audience, once I got over my fear of all those people sitting out there, eyes forward focused on me.

Speaking of performing before audiences, I’ve been watching some of the winter Olympics in the evenings. I, like nearly everyone else on the planet, am in awe of the athletes. Their performances take my breath away. Their focus amazes me. I’m sure the crowds get them pumped up to ski, snowboard, ice dance and all the other elements of Olympic-level performances, but their superb physical condition alone is amazing.

I know I feel better when I eat right and get regular exercise. Watching world class athletes made me do a little research on what they eat while they train and perform. Here’s some of what I found out: staying hydrated, carbs for energy, and protein for staying power are building blocks for nearly all of them.

One dinnertime protein dish that caught my eye was a part of speed skater Mia Manganello’s food plan. Try this simple, easy dish with rice and sauteed veggies if you want to eat like an Olympian.


4 6-ounce salmon fillets

1/2 cup pineapple juice

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 cup peanut oil

Marinate fillets in pineapple juice, soy sauce, and oil in a self-sealing plastic bag for 15 minutes. Drain.

Broil or grill 4 minutes on each side, about 4 inches from heat. This depends partly on the thickness of the fillets.

Serve with rice.

Serves four.

Linda Conway Eriksson

Contributing Columnist

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at

Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at