Coffee and sport are closely connected, and there is no better time to talk about this than during the Olympic Games

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The benefits of drinking coffee for athletes

Athletes are generally quite interested in the effects of caffeine on sports performance, endurance and exercise capacity.

There are numerous studies about the effects of coffee on physical exercise. Caffeine seems to have ergogenic effects on sports performance. More specifically, detailed studies have recorded the wide range of metabolic, hormonal, and physiological effects of caffeine on athletic performance. Moreover, caffeine ingestion might also require some cognitive and physiological considerations for athletes (Sökmen et al., 2008).


According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, caffeine could improve muscular resistance, and it seems to affect the aerobic activities more positively than the anaerobic. Furthermore, according to some experts, athletes who ingest caffeine before a competition may have greater endurance and need a shorter time to recover (Quotidiano Nazionale, 2021).

Coffee cup with molecule of caffeine structure background

Apparently, performance benefits can be seen with moderate amounts (~3 mg·kg–1 body mass) of caffeine. These benefits are likely to occur across a range of sports, including endurance events, stop-and-go events (e.g., team and racquet sports), and sports involving sustained high-intensity activity lasting from 1–60 min (e.g., swimming, rowing, and middle and long distance running races). However, the direct effects on single physical events involving strength and power, such as lifts, throws, and sprints, seem to be still unclear (Burke, 2008).

Literary Olympic Coffee

On the 28th of July the Ghisallo Cycling Museum in Italy hosted a special event starring Marino Vigna, a former cyclist from Italy who won a gold medal in the team pursuit at the 1960 Summer Olympics (Federazione Ciclistica Italiana, n.d.).

The event combined coffee, sport and literature, since the organiser was the cycling museum, sponsored by Faema (<<< link). In the event Gianfranco Josti – a sports journalist for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera – talked about the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games (Tuttobici Web, 2021).

Costa Olympic Cups for the Tokyo Olympic Games

As we are talking about the connection between sport and caffeine during the Tokyo Olympic Games, we should also focus for a moment on the Costa Olympic Cups created precisely for this huge sports event.

Costa Coffee is the official coffee sponsor of the Tokyo Olympic Games and in 2019 it commissioned these Olympic cups to celebrate their official sponsorship (Packaging of the World, 2021; Romano, 2021).


These paper cups were designed by Barrie Jones, in collaboration with Pablo London, who was in charge of the art direction. Each cup represents a different iconic Olympic sport and the design was created in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee to ensure accuracy and authenticity for each sport, but leaving some space for creativity and humour (Packaging of the World, 2021).

Source: (Packaging of the World, 2021)

The illustrations created for these cups were also adapted for digital animation and a fair number of limited edition merchandise items (Packaging of the World, 2021).

Source: Costa Coffee

Make sure you take a look at the wonderful design of the Costa Olympic Cups!



Burke, L. M. (2008). Caffeine and sports performance. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 33(6). Retrieved from

Federazione Ciclistica Italiana. (n.d.). Marino Vigna: oro nel quartetto dell’inseguimento su pista alle Olimpiadi di Roma ’60. Retrieved July 31, 2021, from

Packaging of the World. (2021). Costa Official Tokyo 2020 Olympics Cups. Retrieved July 31, 2021, from

Quotidiano Nazionale. (2021, July 27). Sport e caffeina: bere caffè migliora la prestazioni atletiche? QN Salus. Retrieved from

Romano, G. (2021, July). How cool are these Costa Olympics Cups created for the Tokyo 2020 Games? CoffeeCode. Retrieved from

Sökmen, B., Armstrong, L. E., Kraemer, W. J., Casa, D. J., Dias, J. C., Judelson, D. A., & Maresh, C. M. (2008). Caffeine Use in Sports: Considerations for the Athlete. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 22(3), 978–986. Retrieved from

Tuttobici Web. (2021, July). UN CAFFE’ OLIMPICO AL GHISALLO. Retrieved from

Picture credits: when not otherwise specified, the pictures were purchased by the ArtOn Café director