There is no one in the world I would rather have to guide me through the intricacies of a food court than an 18-year-old freeskier from Colorado. Torin Yater-Wallace, now America's greatest sporting hero after raiding the Olympic Village McDonald's for a pile of cheeseburgers, was tracked down by Yahoo's Jeff Passan and deigned to share a small portion of his patty wisdom with the world.
"I'm not the biggest McDonald's fan. But it's free, so why not?"
Moral nihilists will tell you that nothing can be inherently right, but fuck 'em. Take the free food is as good an existential creed as anything this species has ever come up with.
The burgers—Royal Cheeseburgers, known here as Quarter Pounders—were not actually for Yater-Wallace. Instead he thought he'd be a bro and pick up some food for his teammates. Why McDonald's? "Because it's closest to the dining-hall door," he told Yahoo. The path of least resistance informs both his skiing acumen and his food choices.
The burgers sit in his fridge, and he's not worried that the taste of McDonald's will suffer from being reheated:
"There's a microwave. White Castle burgers–those are frozen and they microwave 'em. If you think about that, they're probably pretty good."
Just thinking about things is why he's a high schooler at the Olympics, and why I'm proselytizing for the new free-burger-based religion he's unwittingly founding. I'm unsure if this is one of those religions that requires mind-altering substances. I asked Passan if Yater-Wallace was high, as the photo and every preconceived notion about freeskiers would indicate. Passan said he believes Yater-Wallace "just looks perpetually stoned." He could just as easily be perpetually stoned.
Yater-Wallace, who isn't expected to medal in the halfpipe competition next week, is nevertheless one of the better stories at these games. During the last recession, his father's business went under and he had to declare bankruptcy, while his mother lost her job. At age 14, Yater-Wallace was effectively homeless, sleeping on friends' couches for a few months at a time before moving on to the next place. Then came a shock silver at the 2011 Winter X Games, making him the youngest medalist in the X Games' history, and Yater-Wallace went on tour—while still attending school—and became his family's breadwinner.
So he knows the value of a free meal:
And the joy of simple pleasures:
Yater-Wallace's teenage metabolism won't last, but he's not particularly concerned about his McDonald's intake. As he tells Yahoo, "Whatever. I'm not in a sport with my shirt off, so it's all good."