Athletes Will Be Sleeping on Cardboard Bed Frames at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
"They are stronger than wooden beds," Takashi Kitajima, general manager of the Athletes Village, said
The elite competitors heading to Tokyo this summer for the Olympics and Paralympics will be greeted by something unique in their rooms at the Athletes Village: cardboard bed frames.
On Thursday, Olympic organizers unveiled the unexpected furniture offering while giving members of the press a first look at the living quarters all athletes will have for the upcoming games.
According to the Associated Press, Takashi Kitajima — the general manager of the Athletes Village — said the single bed frame cardboard option was introduced to be more environmentally friendly.
“The organizing committee was thinking about recyclable items, and the bed was one of the ideas,” Kitajima explained.
All 18,000 bed frames will be turned into paper products after the games, the AP reported. The mattresses, which are not made of cardboard and can be adjusted for firmness, will also be recycled into plastic products. Additionally, the bedding is made of renewable materials.
Local Olympic sponsor Airweave Inc. executed the cardboard bed frame design, according to the outlet.
They’re not just environmentally sound either, they’re also sturdy, holding about 440 pounds.
“Those beds can stand up to 200 kilograms,” Kitajima said, the AP reported. “They are stronger than wooden beds.”
That doesn’t mean they’re indestructible, say if a victory led to a more rowdy celebration.
“Of course, wood and cardboard would each break if you jumped on them,” Kitajima noted, per the AP.
Construction on the Athletes Village is expected to be completed in June, the AP reported. A whopping 21 apartment towers alongside the Tokyo Bay make up the community.
The opening ceremony for the Olympics is on July 24. The Paralympics kick off on Aug. 25.
All athletes are offered residence at Athletes Village, but typically only stay there until they compete.
And while the cardboard bed frames may be different, they’re not too dissimilar to what athletes are usually given.
Runner Allyson Felix — a track and field sensation in four Olympics between 2004 and 2016, with six gold medals — told PEOPLE in 2018 that the athletes’ accommodations are similar to a large network of college dorm rooms, with the athletes sharing rooms, common areas and bathrooms (They are grouped by sport, taking up blocks or floors of rooms).
And, just like most dorms, the athletes’ rooms aren’t exactly luxurious.
“Here you are at the hardest competition of your life and you have a twin bed,” Felix joked.