On October 2, 1965, a team of scientists invent Gatorade, a sports drink to quench thirst, in a University of Florida lab. The name “Gatorade” is derived from the nickname of the university’s sports teams. Eventually, the drink becomes a phenomenon and makes its inventors wealthy.
Early in the summer of 1965, University of Florida assistant football coach Dewayne Douglas met a group of scientists on campus to determine why many of Florida’s players were so negatively affected by heat. To replace bodily fluids lost during physical exertion, Dr. James Robert Cade and his team of researchers—doctors H. James Free, Dana Shires and Alex de Quesada—created the now-ubiquitous sports drink.
“They developed a drink that contained salts and sugars that could be absorbed more quickly,” according to a University of Florida history of medicine, “and the basis for Gatorade was formed.”
In its early days, Gatorade wasn’t a hit with players. The drink reportedly tasted so awful that some athletes vomited after consuming it.
By 2015, however, royalties for the group that invented Gatorade, as well as some of their family members and friends, had eclipsed $1 billion.
“I think we’d all be living well without it,” Free told ESPN in 2015. “But it has enabled us to do things like establish a family foundation and a family office. It also has its challenges in that we cannot let what we have spoil us.”