TAMPA, Fla. — Athletes arriving in Toyko to compete in the Olympics found strange sleeping arrangements at the Olympic Village: beds made out of cardboard.
Some posted on Twitter, sharing photos of their beds and poking fun at why they are made of cardboard. Paul Chelimo, an American long-distance runner, tweeted the beds are meant to "avoid intimacy among athletes" during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, they are not intended to be "anti-sex." The beds were announced as part of the athletes' village in January of 2020, prior to the start of the pandemic and social distancing restrictions. The beds are made by Airweave, a Japanese company specializing in modular mattress design.
After the games, the 18,000 single-frame beds will be recycled into plastic products, promoting sustainability. Organizers say this is the first time beds have been made out of renewable materials.
In speaking with the Associated Press, the athletes' village general manager, Takashi Kitajima, says the beds can withstand more than 400 pounds of weight, making them pretty sturdy for cardboard.
Rhys McClenaghan, a gymnast for Team Ireland, decided to put the beds to the test by vigorously jumping up and down on the mattress.
"In today's episode of fake news at the Olympic Games, the beds are meant to be anti-sex. They're made out of cardboard, yes, and apparently, they're meant to break at any sudden movements," McClenaghan said while jumping on the bed. "It's fake, fake news."
The video, which gained thousands of reactions and comments on social media, was even reposted by the Olympics' official Twitter account saying, "Thanks for debunking the myth."
While the beds are not meant to be "anti-sex," organizers in Toyko are discouraging athletes from getting together in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. In a guidebook for the athletes, organizers suggest minimizing physical interaction, including physical contact, hugs and handshakes.
Additionally, Olympic organizers plan to cut back on the number of condoms they will distribute, according to Reuters. This time around, they will be giving out about 150,000 condoms as opposed to the 450,000 given out at Rio's 2016 Olympic Games.
Organizers said the condoms are not meant to be used at the athletes' village, but athletes should take them back to their home countries to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.
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