The truth about the ‘anti-sex beds’ of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The beds in the Tokyo Olympic Village are made from cardboard and recycled material, but were they actually designed to prevent sex between athletes?

In an unprecedented situation, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village welcomes athletes with a rarefied atmosphere: on this occasion, the wide contact between more than 10 thousand participants from all over the world is limited with sanitary filters, plastic screens on each seat in the dining rooms, masks at all times (except in the room) and daily saliva tests.

However, a special feature of the Olympic Village attracted the attention of the press and athletes alike: inside the rooms, the beds where the protagonists of the Olympic Games rest are particularly light and made of recyclable cardboard and fibers.

The situation raised all kinds of comments, but that of Paul Chelimo, an American long-distance runner, went viral on social networks and was even reproduced in different media, giving rise to a barrage of unconfirmed theories and news:

According to Chelimo, the beds of the Olympic Village intend to avoid sex among athletes, hence at first glance they look fragile and unable to support the weight of more than one person.

This comment went around the world and caused them to be popularly known as anti-sex beds. The American’s theory was supplemented by other assumptions, such as the idea that the Organizing Committee chose these beds as a strategy to prevent COVID-19 infections in the Olympic Village.

However, the reality is that the cardboard and the materials of the ‘anti-sex beds’ are not built for this purpose:

From a sustainable alternative to ‘anti-sex beds’

Photo: Carl Court / .

In January 2020, the Japanese company Airweave presented the design of the 18,000 beds and mattresses for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Via three cardboard modules and a polyethylene fiber mattress completely recycled, the manufacturer explained that the design supported more than 200 kilos to sleep comfortably and that this innovation responded to Tokyo’s sustainability plan to make this event the greenest in history.

At that time, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 still had no name and most of the world was unaware of what was about to happen. The virus was a local outbreak located in Wuhan, with no further information about it.

Hence the original design lacks any intention to limit sexual contact between athletes in the Olympic Village, a common situation –according to its protagonists–, who share moments of concentration, training, recreation, parties and days off for a couple of weeks in the complexes built every four years to house them.

As his arrival, dozens of athletes have decided find out for yourselves how sturdy the ‘anti-sex beds’ of Tokyo 2020 are and through videos shared on their social networks, they have shown the details of the base and have even put it to the test by jumping on it:

Upon entering their room for the first time, athletes find a manual in the bedside which reveals the bed materials and a QR code to learn how to adjust the modular mattress to your individual preferences, along with a commemorative quilt and its respective cover, to take with you once your participation in the pandemic Olympics concludes.

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