After American track star Paul Chelimo's thoughts about the quality of the beds went viral, officials insisted the materials were chosen based on sustainability

By Charlotte Triggs
July 19, 2021 03:20 PM
olympic beds
Credit: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Olympics officials are speaking out after the quality of the beds in the Olympic Village sparked a viral theory that they were intended to prevent the athletes from having sex during the games.

American track and field runner Paul Chelimo first sparked the viral theory Friday, remarking on the cardboard construction, which was chosen for its sustainable qualities.

"Beds to be installed in Tokyo Olympic Village will be made of cardboard, this is aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes," he wrote on Twitter. "Beds will be able to withstand the weight of a single person to avoid situations beyond sports."

Chelimo also joked: "I can't fly business polaris then sleep on a carton box."

But another athlete, Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan, disagreed with the characterization of the "anti-sex beds," posting a video depicting himself bouncing up and down to test the bed's structural integrity.

olympic beds
Credit: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Olympic officials were quick to respond, jokingly praising McClenaghan "for debunking the myth."

"You heard it first from @TeamIreland gymnast @McClenaghanRhys - the sustainable cardboard beds are sturdy!"

The plan for Tokyo's 18,000 cardboard beds was first announced in January 2020 ahead of the delayed games, with the Japanese company Airweave boasting that the beds were made of fully recyclable materials, making this year's Olympic village set up the most sustainable one to date.

Accommodations at Olympic villages have long been the subject of mockery, as the host cities struggle to temporarily house upwards of 10,000 athletes and many more visitors.

At the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, athletes complained of leaking pipes and sewage. At 2014's winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, athletes and members of the media also joked about unfinished roads, makeshift hotels missing flooring and toilets without stalls.

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There's also a long history of the Olympics committee addressing the booming sex scene at the Olympic villages.

Starting in 1988, amidst the AIDS crisis, condoms have been distributed to the athletes at the Olympic village to raise awareness about safe sex practices. What began as a modest undertaking has since exploded in scale, with more than 450,000 condoms being distributed at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

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This year however, officials have taken steps to discourage social interactions amidst the pandemic, and ongoing public health concerns in Japan in particular. They've banned the sale of alcohol in order to discourage socializing and also plan to distribute condoms only as the athletes are leaving for their home countries.

To learn more about all the Olympic hopefuls, visit The Tokyo Olympics begin July 23rd on NBC.