LONDON -- Jessica Hardy emerged from the Olympic pool on Friday, clutching the drink that would aid her in recovering from her performance.
Not water. Not Gatorade. Not some special sports drink.
Hardy was chugging chocolate milk.
"I won't do energy drinks, with my supplement history," Hardy said. "Chocolate milk is as good as it gets."
Hardy qualified for the Olympics four years ago, then withdrew after testing positive for a banned substance. Hardy satisfied arbitrators that a contaminated supplement was to blame, and the International Olympic Committee reinstated her last year.
Hardy, the Long Beach resident entered in Friday night's semifinals of the women's 50-meter freestyle, is not the only swimmer to rely on chocolate milk for post-race nourishment.
Nathan Adrian, the gold medalist in the men's 100-meter freestyle, was one of several U.S. swimmers selected in March for an advertising campaign to pitch low-fat chocolate milk as the "Official Refuel Beverage of USA Swimming."
Chocolate milk has emerged over the last several years as an alternative to sports drinks, with their sometimes foul taste.
Felice Kurtzman, the late sports nutritionist for the UCLA athletic department, endorsed chocolate milk in a 2006 interview with The Times.
"Chocolate milk provides carbohydrates, calcium, other trace minerals," she said. "And the important thing is that the kids drink it."