IN the middle of a blistering summer heat, coaches at the University of Florida’s football team sat down with school physicians to find out if anything can be done for players whose performance seemed to fade after long, intense bouts of physical exertion.
What researchers learned were two key factors that were causing them to 'wilt.' The fluids and electrolytes the players lost through sweat were not being replaced, and the carbohydrates the players' bodies burned for energy were not being replenished.
A fluid replenishment system – its early formula made from water, sodium, sugar, potassium, phosphate, and lemon juice – was invented. And the University of Florida’s intercollegiate football team, known as the Florida Gators, became the first ambassadors of a new sports hydration that became known as ‘Gatorade.’
This was back in 1965.
Fifty years later, Gatorade, the world’s number one sports drink, has become the choice of many of champions, running the range of athletic competition, from grueling endurance contests to punishing contact sports.
Here are just some of its stars:
- April Ross, beach volleyball – silver medalist at the 2012 London Games and 2006 AVP Rookie of the Year. Lettered in high school track but was also a star athlete in indoor volleyball. Won the Gatorade National Player of the Year award as a senior.
- Usain Bolt, track & field – a 6’5” gazelle regarded as the world’s fastest human being. Holder of the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 4 x 100 meter relay world records. He is the current reigning Olympic champion in these three events.
- Lionel Messi, football – four-time Ballon d’Or winner, four-time UEFA Champions League winner, six-time La Liga champion, leading goal scorer in La Liga and FC Barcelona history, 2014 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball recipient. Considered the best soccer player in the world and greatest of all time.
- Derek Jeter, baseball – played 20 seasons as the Yankees’ shortstop, one of baseball’s most demanding defensive positions. A 14-time MLB All-Star and a five-time World Series champion, he is regarded as central to New York’s success from late 1990s and early 2000s.
- Jimmie Johnson, stock car racing driver – a six-time NASCAR Series champion and two-time Daytona 500 champion. From 2002 and 2015, has recorded 74 career race wins, 305 Top 10's, and 33 pole positions, the number one qualifying vehicle and driver position at the starting grid.
- Chris Legh, triathlete – a two-time Ironman Triathlon champion and six-time Australian national champion in XTERRA, Half Ironman and Ironman disciplines. Has logged over 85 worldwide professional race wins, holding the number one ranking in long course triathlons from 1999 to 2000.
- Peyton Manning, American football – Super Bowl XLI champion and MVP, and a record five-time NFL MVP. Nicknamed ‘The Sheriff’ for his pre-snap routine, he is thought of as one of football’s most cerebral players and is ranked among the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
- Serena Williams, tennis – a 21-time Grand Slam singles champion and four-time Olympic gold medalist. As of August 30, 2015 Serena has spent 256 weeks overall as the world’s number one women’s player. Along with her individual accolades, has won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles with her sister Venus.
- Michael Jordan, basketball – a two-time Hall of Fame inductee, ESPN Sports Century’s Number 1 North American athlete of the 20th century, six-time NBA champion, and five-time MVP. Viewed as the greatest basketball player of all time, he is the game’s most decorated and recognizable, and perhaps the most iconic of all Gatorade ambassadors.