In early summer of 1965, the assistant coach of the University of Florida’s American Football team – the Florida Gators – sat down with a team of university physicians and asked them to determine why so many of his players were being affected by heat and heat related illnesses.
The researchers — Dr. Robert Cade, Dr. Dana Shires, Dr. H. James Free and Dr. Alejandro de Quesada — soon discovered two key factors that were causing the Gator players to ‘wilt’: the fluids and electrolytes the players lost through sweat were not being replaced, and the large amounts of carbohydrates the players’ bodies used for energy were not being replenished.
The researchers then took their findings into the lab, and scientifically formulated a new, precisely balanced carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage that would adequately replace the key components lost by Gator players through sweating and exercise. They called their concoction ‘Gatorade’.
The Florida Gators varsity team, led by legendary coach Ray Graves and fueled by Gatorade, win the coveted Orange Bowl for the first time in their history, beating the favoured Georgia Tech. In the game Gators running back Larry Smith has a 94-yard touchdown run setting an Orange Bowl record. After the game, Georgia’s coach Bobby Dodd tells Graves, “We didn’t have Gatorade – that made the difference”
In the summer of 1969, Coach Ray Graves of the Florida Gators suggested to the Kansas City Chiefs that they use Gatorade to combat the staggering effects of a blistering Missouri sun during training camp. The Chiefs were so impressed with the “Gator coach’s aid” that they kept it on their sidelines throughout the entire season… which concluded with a stunning victory over the heavily favoured Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
In the years that followed, more and more NFL teams began placing Gatorade on the sidelines of their games and practices, and in 1983, Gatorade became the official sports drink of the NFL—a title it holds to this day.
From college games to the Super Bowl, the Gatorade dunk quickly becomes a tradition which sees the winning team pour a cooler of Gatorade over their coach.
Two decades after Dr. Cade and his team worked diligently to develop the optimum hydration formula that would become Gatorade, the Gatorade Sports Science Institute was founded in Barrington, Illinois, to conduct scientific research in the areas of exercise science, hydration, and sport nutrition. Three years later, the lab would be expanded to provide advanced testing for athletes and new Gatorade products and flavours and develop education materials for sports health professionals around the world. Today the GSSI continues to work with the best athletes around the world.
Michael Jordan signs for Gatorade and helps introduce it to a new generation of athletes.
The only sports drink scientifically proven over 45 years to help fuel pros, amateurs, or anyone serious about their performance hits New Zealand shores.