Tokyo Olympics: Athletes will be ordered to eat alone at Olympic Village
06/25/2021 // Nolan Barton // Views

The Olympics is supposed to showcase camaraderie among the world's best athletes and the Olympic Village is supposed to be the ultimate hub for socializing.

But this year's Tokyo Olympics gives a different vibe. The Olympic Village comes across as a slightly sterile home for athletes that will descend upon it next month. Athletes will sleep in single beds, with decoration kept to a minimum within the coronavirus (COVID-19) secure bubble.

To top it all, tenants at the Olympic Village will be ordered to eat alone.

Tokyo Olympics is different from previous ones

This early, it is expected that the Tokyo Olympics will be very much different than the previous ones, the 2016 Rio Olympics in particular.

That edition of the quadrennial summer event made Rio de Janeiro, Brazil a Tinder hotspot, with matches having rocketed up 129 percent in the area during the Games. (Related: Tokyo Olympics audience members need to be vaccinated or show a negative coronavirus test result to attend.)

Sex is set to be banned at this edition, although organizers are distributing about 160,000 condoms for the event to encourage athletes to be safe. The official line is that the mass distribution of condoms is to "raise awareness."

Those who plan to break the rule will have to avoid threesomes as the beds won't be able to handle the weight.

Tokyo organizers are committed to being as eco-friendly as possible, with each bed having been built from recycled cardboard.

"We've conducted experiments, like dropping weights on top of the beds," said a spokesperson for Airweave, the Japanese mattress brand that made the beds. "As long as they stick to just two people in the bed, they should be strong enough to support the load."


In the main dining hall, where athletes will be instructed to eat alone, hand sanitizing stations are a regular feature. Pink and orange signs add some color to the otherwise dull features. The multi-colored chairs aim for the same effect.

But those colors are not going to change the fact that this year's Olympians – supposedly the epitome of health and exuberance – will be confined in a controlled environment for several days. They will be living in a COVID-19 bubble, which is essentially a COVID-19 prison camp.

Olympic Village is supposed to be a fun place

The Olympic Village is supposed to be a fun place to live in.

Home to more than 10,000 athletes at the Summer Games and around 2,800 at the Winter Games, the Olympic Village is one of the world's most exclusive clubs. Prospective members need to have spectacular talent and a pure devotion to the most intense competition of their lives.

It is the perfect place to pick the brain of fellow athletes, learn from different cultures and establish friendship with no-nonsense individuals who always strive to be the best in their fields.

Of course, some athletes have different definition of fun. The image of a celibate Olympics began to flicker in 1992 when it was reported that the organizers had ordered in prophylactics – medication or treatment designed and used to prevent a disease from occurring.

Many Olympians abide by what two-time Olympic gold medalist Summer Sanders calls the second Olympic motto: "What happens in the village stays in the village." Sanders, a swimmer, obviously knew it can't replace the original Olympic motto: Citius. Altius. Fortius. Those are Latin words for faster, higher, stronger.

If you ask active and retired Olympians often enough to spill their secrets, the village gates will fly open. It quickly becomes clear that the games go on long after the medal ceremony. (Related: Japanese doctors union warns Olympics may create new coronavirus strain.)

"There's a lot of sex going on," said women's soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo, a gold medalist in 2008.

Ryan Lochte, a 12-time Olympic medalist in swimming, estimated that three in four Olympians have engaged in sexual activities at one time or another during the Games. "Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do," Lochte said.

"You're nervous, super excited. Everyone's meeting people and trying to hook up with someone," said many-time Olympian and water polo captain Tony Azevedo.

That's perfectly understandable, if not to be expected. Olympians are young and supremely healthy people who've been training with the intensity of combat troops for years. Suddenly they're released into a cocoon in the form of Olympic Village where prying reporters and overprotective parents aren't allowed. They've got to do what they've got to do.

What's not understandable is ordering them to eat alone and practically isolate themselves during the best time of their lives.

Follow for more news and information related to the coronavirus pandemic.

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