Competitors arriving at the Tokyo Olympics have found one thing uncommon about the beds in the athletes’ village: They’re manufactured from cardboard.
Some have shared photographs on social media of the modular mattress frames, that are made by the Japanese firm Airweave and are recyclable. Organizers say it’s the first time that the beds at the Games might be made nearly totally out of renewable supplies.
But in the time of the coronavirus, when Olympic organizers apprehensive about transmission are attempting to discourage shut contact as a lot as potential, the uncommon mattress frames have led some to recommend there’s one other motive behind them.
Paul Chelimo, an American distance runner, speculated on Twitter that the beds had been unable to assist multiple individual and had been “aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes.” Soon the beds had been being labeled on social media as “anti-sex.”
Rhys McClenaghan, a gymnast from Ireland, known as the declare “fake news.” A video he posted on Twitter confirmed him leaping on his mattress to reveal that it may stand up to vigorous exercise. The official Olympics Twitter account reposted Mr. McClenaghan’s video, including: “Thanks for debunking the myth.”
The plan for the 18,000 beds and mattresses — eight,000 will even be used for the Paralympics beginning subsequent month — was introduced earlier than the pandemic began and social distancing restrictions had been first put in place, and so they’re sturdier than they give the impression of being.
“Cardboard beds are actually stronger than the one made of wood or steel,” Airweave mentioned in an announcement on Monday.
The modular mattresses are customizable to go well with athletes of all physique varieties, and the beds can maintain as much as 440 kilos, sufficient for even the most imposing Olympians.
But Olympic officers nonetheless favor that athletes sleep alone whereas in Tokyo, and keep away from one another all over the place else as effectively. A playbook outlining security measures advises Olympic contributors to “avoid unnecessary forms of physical contact such as hugs, high-fives and handshakes.”
To additional discourage carousing, alcohol gross sales might be banned. Condoms, which have been distributed at the Olympics since the Seoul Games in 1988, might be supplied to encourage secure intercourse, however solely about one-third as many as the report 450,000 handed out at the Rio Games in 2016. And Olympic officers have made it clear that they’re supposed for athletes to make use of solely as soon as they’re again in their dwelling international locations.
The restrictions replicate widespread concern about the coronavirus as the Olympics get underway, particularly with the extremely contagious Delta variant fueling outbreaks round Asia. A strict testing regime has turned up dozens of constructive outcomes this month as greater than 18,000 folks have arrived in Tokyo for the Games.
Over the weekend, officers confirmed the first three circumstances inside the athletes’ village, together with one organizer and two opponents. Some athletes have pulled out of the Games over security fears, whereas others, like the teenage American tennis star Coco Gauff, have withdrawn after testing constructive.
Hikari Hida contributed reporting from Tokyo.