Competitors arriving at the Tokyo Olympics have found one thing uncommon about the beds in the athletes’ village: They’re made 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 is the first time that the beds at the Games will probably be made nearly solely out of renewable supplies.
But in the time of the coronavirus, when Olympic organizers fearful about transmission try to discourage shut contact as a lot as potential, the uncommon mattress frames have led some to counsel there’s one other motive behind them.
Paul Chelimo, an American distance runner, speculated on Twitter that the beds have been unable to help multiple particular person and have been “aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes.” Soon the beds have been being labeled on social media as “anti-sex.”
Rhys McClenaghan, a gymnast from Ireland, referred to as the declare “fake news.” A video he posted on Twitter confirmed him leaping on his mattress to show that it will maintain up towards 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 may even be used for the Paralympics beginning subsequent month — was introduced earlier than the pandemic began and social distancing restrictions have been first put in place, they usually’re sturdier than they give the impression of being.
“Cardboard beds are actually stronger than the one made of wood or steel,” Airweave stated in an announcement.
The modular mattresses are customizable to swimsuit athletes of all physique sorts, and the beds can maintain as much as 440 kilos, sufficient for even the most imposing Olympians.
But Olympic officers nonetheless desire that athletes sleep alone whereas in Tokyo, and steer clear of one another all over the place else as properly. A playbook outlining security measures advises Olympic members to “avoid unnecessary forms of physical contact such as hugs, high-fives and handshakes.”
To additional discourage carousing, alcohol gross sales will probably be banned. Condoms, which have been distributed at the Olympics since the Seoul Games in 1988, will probably be supplied to encourage protected intercourse, however solely about one-third as many as the document 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 nations.
The restrictions mirror 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 optimistic outcomes this month as greater than 18,000 individuals 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 optimistic.
Hikari Hida contributed reporting from Tokyo.