Australia fly in ‘performance-enhancing’ barista for Beijing Games (VIDEO)
Australia's chances of achieving gold at the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics have been boosted after a Queensland barista was flown in to accompany the team.
The approach was rolled out at Tokyo 2020 last year, and it was so well received that the Australians have brought the private coffee maker into their Covid-secure bubble in the Chinese capital as confirmed by chef de mission Geoff Lipshut on Wednesday.
"The purpose of the barista was that it's a tried and true assistance for high performance," said Lipshut.
"We had the barista in Tokyo, where the team did incredibly well," he added of Australia's 46-medal haul, including 17 golds to equal their best ever tally at Athens 2004. "It seemed like a no-brainer.
"Given our winter athletes travel so long away from Australia, we can bring a little touch of home and have that available."
VIDEO: Australian skiers 'ecstatic' about team's barista in Beijing Olympics.Australia's cross-country skiing team has brought some creature comforts with them into the Olympic Village in Beijing, including a barista who makes coffee for the team pic.twitter.com/WWzNlUK8dd— AFP News Agency (@AFP) February 2, 2022
At the Tokyo Games, a Japan-based barista was flown in to set up a cafe that reportedly served around 600 cups a day from three machines, starting at 6.30am.
Sitting next to Lipshut at the press conference, cross-country skier Phil Bellingham joked that the service might prove the X factor when competing for top honors this time.
"It is great to have the barista here," said the 30-year-old. "Coffee is a performance-enhancing stimulant so it’s great to have that winning edge on our side."
"I was ecstatic to see the set-up with the coffee and the barista," confessed fellow skier Jessica Yeaton, raising chuckles as she said she felt "so happy" about the arrival.
"I actually worked as a barista for about ten years, so it's really important to me.
"And I think especially after being here for the past two months with sub-par coffee, it's just amazing"."
Despite supporting a diplomatic boycott of the spectacle alongside countries including the US, Australia has sent its third-largest Winter Olympics team in history to Beijing 2022.
The country expects to have 43 athletes taking part in the competition, which runs from February 4-20 2022.