Born in the lab
In early summer of 1965, a University of Florida assistant coach 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’.
Proven on the field
Soon after the researchers introduced their Gatorade formula to the team, the Gators began winning… outlasting a number of heavily favored opponents in the withering heat and finishing the season at 7–4.
The team’s success progressed even more during the 1966 season, with the Gators finishing at 9–2 and winning the Orange Bowl for the first time ever in the history of the school. Word about Gatorade began to spread outside of the state of Florida, and both the University of Richmond and Miami of Ohio, began ordering batches of Gatorade for their football teams. Orders from other college football programs across the country soon followed, as playing without Gatorade on your sidelines began to be likened to playing with just ten men on the field.
Today, Gatorade can be found on the sidelines of more than 70 Division I colleges as the official sports drink of their men’s and women’s intercollegiate sports.
From the Orange Bowl to the Super Bowl
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 favored 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.
Furthering the science of victory
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 flavors and develop education materials for sports health professionals around the world. Gatorade is now also the official sports drink of the NBA, AVP, and PGA, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, and numerous other elite and professional organizations and teams.
Hydration at 180 mph
In 2001, after determining that professional race car drivers were not staying adequately hydrated throughout the course of their races, Gatorade and GSSI begin working with auto racing organizations to develop a hydration tool that could withstand 130-degree temperatures and keep drivers hydrated safely throughout the course of a race. The result of their research was the development of GIDS, the Gatorade In-Car Drinking System, which is now considered an essential piece of racing equipment.
Rising to new challenges
After years of careful research by the staff at GSSI into the needs of athletes engaged in high-demand training and competition, Gatorade launched the Gatorade Performance Series, an elite line of sports nutrition products, in 2001. These products include Gatorade Energy Drink, Gatorade Energy Bar, and the Gatorade Nutrition Shake.
Four years later, after studying endurance athletes, GSSI developed the Gatorade Endurance Formula. Featuring a higher concentration of sodium—the key electrolyte found in Original Thirst Quencher—and four other electrolytes lost in sweat, Gatorade Endurance Formula is quickly becoming a mainstay on race courses the world over.
Today & tomorrow
Gatorade and GSSI continue to search for and study new and innovative ways to help athletes improve performance by facilitating proper hydration and nutrition. From the lab testing of athletes, to new flavor and delivery system development, to the publication and distribution of scientific research, the Gatorade Company and the GSSI perpetually strive to advance their collective mission of enabling athletes to always perform at their peak.
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