Despite the best efforts of U.S. politicians like Sen. Chuck Schumer, it appears that the stalled shipment of Chobani Greek yogurt destined for the mouths of American athletes competing in the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia is still grounded on our shores. But chin up, fans — even without the helpful protein boost, our brave athletes are forging ahead.
While the apparently magical elixir known as Greek yogurt is stuck stateside, U.S. athletes are reassuring reporters that though yes, they like the stuff, they’re learning to cope without the extra 5,000 cups of protein.
U.S. halfpipe skier Lyman Currier told the Associated Press that dealing with the unexpected is just part of being an elite athlete.
“We all have different routines before competing but I think that part of the sport is adapting,” he said. “So whether we have our yogurt or not, we’ll be able to adapt.”
Adapting shouldn’t be too difficult — the U.S. Ski Team isn’t staying with everyone else in the athletes’ village, but instead are housed in their own place with their own food and private chefs.
“Our setup’s pretty good. I can get my Greek yogurt when I get back home,” U.S. Alpine skier Steven Nyman explained.
Russian authorities say it’s the U.S. Department of Agriculture that’s causing the holdup, saying the agency refused to provide the right paperwork required for dairy products under its customs rules.
“American officials know what the requirements are, and I do not understand why they stood to the side and waited until the situation reached this point,” said Alexei Alexeyenko, an official at the Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance. “This question can be resolved very quickly.”
But Schumer said this week that such export trade rules shouldn’t apply, because the yogurt isn’t for sale and will only be eaten by U.S. citizens.
It’s a problem that goes back at least two years, explains U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who has been working on the trade dispute between the two countries since he started his job in 2012.
“Unfortunately, with this particular shipment, it came to an impasse,” he said. “We are still working it, we would like our athletes to be able to have the American yogurt.”
At least we can rest easy knowing that athletes aren’t curled into a ball in the corner, whimpering in yogurt withdrawal. Stay strong, guys. Stay strong.
Yogurt spat throws off routines of US Olympians [Associated Press]