Interview with Gluten-Free Olympian, Amy Begley, Part Two

By Laura (The Gluten-Free Traveller)

In case you didn’t know, Triumph Dining got a chance to interview gluten-free olympian, Amy Begley, about what it’s like to be a gluten-free athlete. If you missed part one of the interview, don’t worry! You can check it out here.

Here’s the conclusion of the interview!

I understand that you ran in the 2008 games in Beijing. How wonderful!

Did the Olympic village offer gluten free food?

They sort of did. I had the USA team chef ask the Olympic village kitchen about their gluten free options. They had gluten free food but it was not prepared the way that gluten free food needs to be when you’re celiac. They used the same utensils, water, etc to make all of the food.

I asked all of these questions before I left for Beijing so I knew the situation I was headed to. I packed as much as I could and then worked with the TEAM USA chef to eat safely at the TEAM USA dining hall, which was a 20 minute bus ride from the Olympic Village.


Did you get any chance to explore Beijing whilst you were there for the 2008 Olympics?  

Traveling is one of my favorite things about racing.  I did a lot of sight seeing after my race.  I went to the Great Wall and then flew to Chengdu, China to visit the Panda Research Center.  I was able to hold a baby panda.  It was my gift to myself for making the team.  It was an awesome experience.


Did you find many celiac friendly options when traveling in China?

I mostly took my own food or tried to use the Triumph Dining Chinese language dining cards to communicate once I left the village area.


I’m assuming your running takes you to lots of interesting locations.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve run? 

I have raced in Australia, Thailand, Japan, Berlin, China and Canada.  I hope to be able to race in more places in Europe before I retire.


Have you met many other gluten free athletes on your travels?

There are a lot more gluten free athletes now.  In track there is Jenn Suhr, a world class pol vaulter.

What gluten free foods do you take with you when traveling?

I pack Justin’s almond butter, 505 green chili packets, gluten free oatmeal packets, flax seed packets, PR Bars, Udi’s gluten free bread, almonds and fruit.


Are there any gluten free resources you couldn’t be without?

I love competing and racing but travel is an added bonus.  I love to stay after races and explore the city, culture, and food. The Triumph Dining Restaurant Guide helps me to find gluten-free restaurants in each city that I race.


Do you have any advice for fellow gluten free runners like myself?

I created as a resource for other athletes.  I was getting emails daily with questions so now I refer them to the site and have them contact me if they have any more questions. This has saved me a lot of typing or cutting and pasting.


My biggest piece of advice is to try and cook from scratch as often as possible and to eat a lot of fruit and veggies.


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