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False: Anti-sex beds not installed at the 2020 Olympics

By Patrick Vidija | July 23rd 2021

A screenshot of the flimsy cardboard beds as shared on social media.

The claims circulating on social media that athletes in the Olympic Village are using 'anti-sex beds' to discourage them from any contact that could spread coronavirus are false.

The viral claim and photos say that the beds are made of recycled cardboard and are designed to take the weight of one person, 'meaning' they would collapse under the weight of two people. This,  to discourage sex amid Covid-19.

The claims further stated that condoms have also been given to Olympic Games participants. Olympic officials however say the rubber is for athletes to bring home to spread the message of safe sex and not for use at the Olympic Village.

Reacting to the bed’s story, Kenyan-born American athletes- Olympics silver medallist Paul Chelimo posted to his Twitter account saying that the beds were, in fact, aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes.

“Beds to be installed in Tokyo Olympic Village will be made of cardboard, this is aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes. Beds will be able to withstand the weight of a single person to avoid situations beyond sports. I see no problem for distance runners, even 4 of us can do,” he wrote while sharing a picture of the beds.

These rumours started circulating on social media mostly last week as the 2020 Olympics were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic approached.

But an Irish Olympian came out and dispelled the rumours that the cardboard beds were designed to prevent competitors from having sex.

Gymnast Rhys McClenaghan took to social media to prove how robust the cardboard beds are while posting a video of him jumping up and down on the bed.

"In today’s episode of fake news at the Olympic Games, the beds that are meant to be anti-sex,” he said, "They are made out of cardboard, yes, apparently they are meant to break under any sudden movements."

The Checkpoint desk has established that the Olympic Village is using bed frames made out of impact-resistant cardboard for the summer games.

These beds were designed in an effort to make the Olympic games more green are durable and can hold the weight of two average-sized people.

Checkpoint’s investigations further established that a bedding company Airweave had approached the Olympic Village with the design amid efforts to make the Olympics more environmentally friendly.

A press release published on the Olympics news site in 2019 titled ‘Inside the Games’ further details the specs and purpose of these cardboard beds.

The bedding company Airweave said that it was providing 18,000 beds to the Olympic Village that were made from “high resistance lightweight cardboard.”

According to the company, the beds can hold more than 440 pounds, and that after the games the beds will be recycled. 

“Tokyo 2020 has revealed the beds athletes will sleep in at next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games. In all, 18,000 beds will be required at the Olympic Village, with 8,000 at the Paralympic Village. They will be provided by Airweave, an official Tokyo 2020 partner company, and include blue and white duvets featuring a square pattern and the Games logos,” read part of the release.

It further read, “The design of the mattress leverages the latest innovations in bed surface technology,” Tokyo 2020 said today. It comprises three distinct sections supporting the upper, middle and lower body, and the hardness of each section can be customised to suit each athlete’s body shape. The pillows have an indentation in the centre, providing good support for the neck and head regardless of whether athletes are sleeping on their backs or sides.”

The company said all of the bed frames would be made from high-resistance cardboard, able to support weights of up to 200 kilograms which will be recycled into paper products after the Games, with the mattress components recycled into new plastic products.

This is thus the first time in Olympic and Paralympic history that all beds and bedding are made almost entirely from renewable materials.

Checkpoint concludes that while it is true the beds are made of cardboard, it is not true that they are designed to prevent athletes from having sex.

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