Skip to main content

No, Olympians Aren’t Sleeping on ‘Anti-Sex’ Beds in Tokyo

In Monday’s Hot Clicks: the viral myth about the beds in the Olympic Village, Shohei Ohtani’s latest home run and more.

They’re made out of cardboard, but that isn’t why

Every two years, one of the primary story lines in the weeks leading up to the Olympics is the amount of sex the athletes will allegedly be having inside the Olympic village. A total of 450,000 condoms were distributed to Olympians in Rio in 2016, about 42 per athlete. Organizers in Pyeongchang in 2018 gave out 110,000, or about 38 per athlete.

The reputation of the Olympic Village as a haven for hanky panky is overblown, but it has been the subject of a viral myth on social media over the past few days. On Friday, American runner Paul Chelimo shared an Associated Press photo of the beds in the Olympic Village, noting that they were made out of cardboard in the interest of “avoiding intimacy among athletes.”

Chelimo appeared to be joking (and he was definitely joking when he said that bed-wetters have to worry about their beds crumbling beneath them) but that didn’t stop the claim from spreading like wildfire online and even in mainstream news outlets.

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 powerlifters, but that isn’t the only reason not believe the viral myth.

The real reason why the beds have been made out of 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 intended to be used long after the Games, sit abandoned and crumbling not long after. Building beds out of renewable materials is a way to ensure the Games are a little more sustainable.

The plan to bunk 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 that it would be the first time in the history of the Olympics that the 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 that the beds are sturdy enough for extracurriculars by jumping up and down on his.

But whether or not the beds can handle it, Olympic officials are instructing athletes to avoid carousing during a Games that will be cautiously trying to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Athletes have been directed to avoid high fives and loud talking, and anyone associated with the Games has been told not to visit any restaurant that is open after 8 p.m. or that serves alcohol. 

The best of SI

Wrestling fans are back—and proving why WWE needs them. ... Can the Bucks close out the series in Milwaukee after a tenacious performance in Game 5? ... NFL head coach power rankings. ... Damian Lillard wants to win a championship. Is that possible in Portland?

Around the sports world

The Yankees fan who threw a ball that hit Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo has been banned for life from MLB stadiums. ... The translator for Argentine San Jose Earthquakes manager Matias Almeyda was bizarrely issued a red card during Sunday’s game against the Colorado Rapids. ... Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo is asking for his cleats back after somebody stole his Jeep. ... The mysterious blinking light that disrupted the Yankees–Red Sox game doesn’t appear to have been anything nefarious. ... The Olympic rowing venue has to find a way to deal with millions of oysters.

Ho hum, just Shohei Ohtani going down to get a slider below his knees and hitting it 419 feet

I had the most visceral reaction

This is easily the best angle of the incredible Jrue Holliday play

The Pirates are so dreadful that they ended up blowing the lead gifted to them by this Mets meltdown

That was not the dumbest play in baseball on Sunday, though

A Russian freediver set a world record by diving 430 feet without an air tank

Fastest goal in USMNT history (since at least 1989, as long as consistent timing records are available)

No way

Great catch, better reaction

12-year-old Gui Khury became the first person to a land a 1080 on vert in competition

That stiff arm!

I’ve never seen a guy get a season-ending kidney injury before

Not sports

A thief pulled off a brazen candle heist at a Bath and Body Works in Miami with a can of bear mace. ... Colts owner Jim Irsay paid over $900,000 for Elton John’s piano.

Student pilot’s engine fails in mid air, and he handles it like a pro

I had totally forgotten about Biz Markie’s Men in Black cameo

A good song

Email with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.