Sports2024 Summer Olympics


Wisconsin Olympian ate a 'bowl of cake' night before best ever Team USA biathlon performance

Deedra Irwin
Posted at 3:00 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-09 06:03:38-05

BEIJING — A Wisconsin Olympian just had the best performance a Team USA athlete has ever had in the biathlon, and her pre-race meal was a 'bowl of cake'.

Deedra Irwin from Pulaski, Wisconsin proved that you don't need veggies and protein before the biggest race of your life. Instead, you just need a big bowl of sugar to power you through. She got 7th in the 15km biathlon. It's the best individual performance an American athlete has ever had in the biathlon at the Olympics.

"I was eating a bowl of cake the night before a race, which I definitely had some of my teammates reach out and they’re like, 'You have a 15k tomorrow. What are you doing eating cake?' Uhh, enjoying my life," Irwin said with a smile.

Sure, the Team USA nutritionists probably didn't recommend she do that, but hey, cake was one of the options in the dining hall. If the nutritionists didn't want atheltes to eat the cake, they never would have provided it in the first place.

"For me, definitely eating dessert for dinner makes me happy. So I just ate a bowl of cake last night along with any carbs that were laying around in the dining hall," she said.

It was a combination of that cake and her incredible athleticism that led to such an incredible performance. She finished the race in 45:14.01. That was just 1 minute and 1.4 seconds behind the gold medalist, German Denise Herrmann. The other Americans in the event finished 39th, 57th, and 63rd.

"I just started laughing. First, I was just like this is unreal. This is a dream, and then obviously like cry laughing because what the heck," Irwin said.

There is probably a recommended post-meal race to help her recover. However, eating cake seemed to work well for her before the race, so afterwards she celebrated with Kentucky Fried Chicken, chocolate milk, Annie's macaroni and cheese, and Goldfish.

"I was just craving food, and as I went to the dining hall and we have a little KFC stand and that was just calling to me," she said.

So the next time you are craving cake, don't feel guilty. After all, it's what propelled an Olympic athlete to one of her best races ever.

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