tokyo olympics anti-sex beds


Olympic athletes record viral videos to prove beds in Tokyo aren’t ‘anti-sex’

'Love that I'm deep into Olympic Bed TikTok.'


Phil West

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 19, 2021   Updated on Jul 21, 2021, 8:07 am CDT

Two Olympic athletes have taken to social media in recent days to demonstrate the sturdiness of the beds in the dorms where they’ll be housed during the upcoming summer games in Tokyo.

The videos appeared to refute a theory floating around that the beds, constructed with frames that are made entirely from recycled cardboard, were engineered to dissuade more than one person from using the bed at a time—namely, for sex.

Newsweek reported Monday that the bed frames, created for approximately 11,000 athletes coming to Tokyo for the COVID-19-delayed games, are designed by Japanese manufacturer Airweave.

That article noted, “Rumors have circulated that the eco-friendly beds are designed to collapse under the weight of any more than one occupant in order to discourage sex amid rising cases of COVID-19.”

Those rumors were fueled in part by Paul Chelimo, an American distance runner who tweeted Friday night, “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.”

But at least two Olympians have since taken to social media platforms to prove that the beds are more durable than the rumors are contending.

Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan decided to test the theory that he ultimately declared “fake news,” jumping on the bed while shirtless to stress test it. He posted his video to Twitter, where he’s generated more than 2.2 million views so far.

McClenaghan even got a shout-out from the official Olympics account, telling him, “Thanks for debunking the myth” and noting that his demo showed “the sustainable cardboard beds are sturdy!”

Mexican swimmer Angel Martinez has garnered more than 3.5 million views on TikTok for his leap onto one of the Olympic Village beds. Martinez, also shirtless for his video, chose to soundtrack his cardboard-framed bed jump with the Backyardigans’ “Into the Thick of It.”

As one commenter marveled, “Love that I’m deep into Olympic Bed TikTok.”

A press release from Inside the Games about the beds noted that the bed frames are “able to support weights of up to 200 kilograms,” or 441 pounds.

That doesn’t mean that the Tokyo Olympic planners are advocating for sex in the Olympic dorms. USA Today’s article on the matter suggested that “organizers plan to give out 150,000 condoms, but only as a parting gift.”

Takashi Kitajima, an organizer in charge of the Athletes’ Village, expressly said in a press conference that “the distribution of condoms is not to use in the village.”

Kitajima specified, “So the purpose of distributing condoms is not (just) to use in the village, but to ask athletes to cooperate for the awareness of the issue by bringing the condoms back home to their countries.”

Regardless of any suggested abstinence, American marathoner Molly Seidel pointed out that the hubbub around the beds did provide one sexy thing: “the official pickup line of Tokyo 2020: Hey, wanna break down some cardboard with me?”

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*First Published: Jul 19, 2021, 8:10 pm CDT