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FOODIE RUSTICA: JUNE 2008

Will G2 turn me into Maria Sharapova? Well, maybe just a fan.

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(June 25, 2008)—Once upon a time I feared Gatorade. Resembling something short of a urine sample, the ultimate thirst quencher looked about as appetizing as Mountain Dew.

I grew up in the era when Gatorade first hit the market, when sweaty athletes were pictured panting, "Now is a good time for a Gatorade." Since I didn't play team sports as a kid, I was spared from coaches force feeding me this freakish, lime-green liquid.

Then 1984 came. With all of my dance experience and participation in high school drill team, I was selected to be a part of the Olympic Drill Team for the opening ceremonies. That was one of the most memorable times in my life indeed—but prefaced with early-morning to late-night rehearsals—and yes, the force feeding of Gatorade.

Fast forward 24 years, with another summer Olympics just a couple of months away, and what I've realized is what a loyal patron I've become of what has turned out to be a refreshing beverage—all thanks to my high school years, dancing to "One, singular sensation ..." on the field of the L.A. Coliseum.

Today, while I keep no aggressive training schedule as a dancer, Gatorade has been with me through the best of times, and the worst. An acquired taste, the beverage started coming in a variety of flavors from cherry to orange to grape—the latter, which is my favorite. It's helped me through hangovers, been a companion to beef jerky while on road trips, and the adequate replacement of electrolytes when I was a gym fiend in my 20s. Now, it's become as a staple a beverage for me as iced tea.

With a brilliant marketing scheme, the company has packaged the product to include a variety of products: a performance series, Propel water and its classic thirst quencher. Now, the company is expanding its audience by poking fun at the "work hard, play hard" concept through its partnership with Pepsi. The partnerships has given birth to G2—its new, low-calorie product that shows Gatorade isn't just for sweaty athletes anymore.

It's G2 Lounge, features D Wade, Adam Sandler and Mia Hamm— not drowning in perspiration—but sassed up club style, while bragging on the beverage as if they were holding a can of Rockstar. The commercials are entertaining and very much speak to the new— or shall I say, maturing— generation of Gatorade drinkers. Good on them.

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