Despite some media coverage, the beds are actually focused on sustainability as opposed to intimacy restrictions.
Recently, distance runner Paul Chelimo tweeted out two photos of the beds Olympians will be sleeping on while in Tokyo; the beds, all twin-sized and covered in official Tokyo 2020 bedding, are apparently made of cardboard. Initially, they were thought to be for athletes and they garnered interest because they completely collapsed under the pressure of two (or more) people.
Beds to be installed in Tokyo Olympic Village will be made of cardboard, this is aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes
Beds will be able to withstand the weight of a single person to avoid situations beyond sports.
I see no problem for distance runners,even 4 of us can do? pic.twitter.com/J45wlxgtSo
— Paul Chelimo???? (@Paulchelimo) July 17, 2021
For those who don’t know, the Olympics are rather notorious for, ahem, certain extra-curricular activities, and it became widespread knowledge that the Olympics was urging athletes to refrain from any sexual activity so this fuelled theories that this was just the latest ploy to keep Olympians from having sex – amplified when American 2016 silver medalist Paul Chelimo tweeted that the beds were an attempt to avoid “intimacy among athletes.”
However, Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan single-handedly debunked the idea that the beds would collapse under rigorous movement.
But, not in the way you’re thinking.
“In today’s episode of fake news at the Olympic games, the beds that are meant to be anti-sex,” McClenaghan said, in a tweet.
“Anti-sex” beds at the Olympics pic.twitter.com/2jnFm6mKcB
— Rhys Mcclenaghan (@McClenaghanRhys) July 18, 2021
“They are made out of cardboard, yes. They are meant to break under any sudden movements.”
But, as he confirmed, they are fairly stable.
As it turns out, all 18,000 of the beds (plus another 8,000 for the Paralympics) were ordered before the pandemic began in March 2020, according to The New York Times — and apparently were not meant to deter sexual activity. In fact, these beds are made to withstand a maximum weight of 440 pounds and chosen with the environment in mind.
Still, the official Olympics Playbook also suggests a limit on physical contact, including no intimate relationships or large gatherings like parties outside of participating in the competition, and suggests maintaining a distance of 6.5 feet.
Thoigh, according to Reuters, Tokyo organisers will keep up the tradition by handing out 150,000 condoms to athletes’ but will encourage athletes not to use them.
Instead, the organisers said they wanted the athletes to “take them back to their home countries to raise awareness” of HIV and AIDS.