They are made of cardboard, but that is not why
Every two years, one of the main storylines in the weeks leading up to the Olympics is the amount of sex that athletes are supposed to have within the Olympic village. A total of 450,000 condoms were distributed to Olympic athletes in Rio in 2016, about 42 per athlete. Organizers in Pyeongchang in 2018 handed out 110,000, or about 38 per athlete.
The Olympic Village’s reputation as a haven for the scarf is overblown, but it has been the subject of a viral myth on social media in recent days. On Friday, American runner Paul Chelimo shared an Associated Press photo of the beds in the Olympic Village, noting that they were made of cardboard in order to “avoid intimacy between the athletes.”
Chelimo seemed to be joking (and he was definitely joking when he said that bedwetters have to worry onto their beds collapsing beneath them) but that didn’t stop the claim from spreading like wildfire online and even on mainstream media.
The idea of an “anti-sex bed” designed to collapse under the weight of two people should be obviously ridiculous in an environment where you have 90-pound gymnasts and 350-pound weightlifters, but that’s not the only reason why don’t believe in viral myth.
The real reason beds are made from cardboard is that it makes them easy to recycle. The Olympics are an environmental nightmare. It requires the construction of some temporary buildings and others that, while they are intended to be used long after the Games, sitting abandoned and falling apart shortly after. Building beds with renewable materials is one way to ensure that the Games are a little more sustainable.
The plan to place the Olympians on cardboard beds was announced in january 2020. The bed frames will be recycled into paper products after the Games and the mattresses will be used to create plastic products. Organizers said it would be the first time in the history of the Olympic Games that beds and mattresses would be made from reusable materials.
The beds are capable of supporting about 440 pounds, Takashi Kitajima, the general manager of the Athletes’ Village, told the AP last year. Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan even proved the beds are sturdy enough for extracurricular activities by jumping on hers.
But whether the beds can handle it or not, Olympic officials are instructing athletes to avoid revelry during a Games that will cautiously try to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Athletes have been instructed to avoid high-fives and talking loudly, and anyone associated with the Games has been said not to visit any restaurant that is open after 8 pm or that serves alcohol.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.