Wild Myths From the Olympic Village That We Hope Are True
What happens in the Olympic Village, stays in the Olympic Village (or so the athletes would hope). Whether it’s the Summer Olympics, which are set to begin in Tokyo on Friday, July 23, or the Winter Olympics, the Olympic Village is said to get pretty wild at times. Yes, it is the residence where all of the athletes stay while preparing for their stint at the Olympics, but once they have competed in the Games, it’s party time.
While there are a lot of the stories that come out of the Olympic Village, there are a few that continue to circulate each time the Games is held. So, we did some digging to find out whether these juicy myths are fact or fiction. You might be surprised by just how thirsty our Olympic athletes are.
Myth #1: Condoms are handed out to athletes
This is most definitely a fact. At the beginning of each Olympic Games, condoms are handed out to athletes so they can practise safe sex during their stay in the Village. The distribution of free condoms to athletes has been a constant at every Olympics since the ’80s.
According to TIME, condoms were first handed out freely at the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea in 1988, in an attempt to prevent the spread of HIV. Since then, the number of condoms required for the Games has risen, with organisers distributing 450,000 condoms at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janerio.
At the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, athletes received 110,000 condoms, which, according to TIME, was the most given out of any previous Winter Olympics. The Korea Biomedical Review calculated that this works out to be roughly 37 condoms per athlete who attended the 2018 Games, with the total cost coming in at around US $93,370. Wild!
Given the threat of COVID-19 at this year’s Games, organisers are tackling the condom issue somewhat differently. The 150,000 condoms up for grabs will be given out to athletes at the end of the Games, as they depart Japan in order to discourage mingling during the event.
Myth #2: There are many hookups
Given the number of condoms given to athletes in the Village, this is most definitely true. Over the years, numerous athletes have told some pretty outrageous stories about the hookups that occur during the Olympic Games.
“There’s a lot of sex going on,” US women’s soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo told ESPN in 2012. When asked how many people were engaging in hookups in the Village, US swimmer Ryan Lochte said: “I’d say it’s 70 percent to 75 percent of Olympians”.
This year’s Tokyo Olympics are set to be different in the hookup stakes though, which is evident through the organisers’ decision to give condoms to athletes as they head home. “Our intent and goal is not for athletes to use the condoms at the Olympic Village, but to help with awareness by taking them back to their own countries,” the Tokyo Olympics Organising Committee said in a statement to Japan Today.
Myth #3: The parties in the Village are lit
Well, this is both true and false, depending on who you speak to. Some Olympians have sordid tales of the parties they attended in the Olympic Village, while others have said it’s not as party-centric as it seems. In fact, US swimmer Natalie Coughlin has previously described the Olympic Village as “pretty boring”.
“It’s like a giant college campus — except that everyone is getting ready for the biggest event of their life so they’re incredibly stressed,” Coughlin told PEOPLE. “They’re really, really focused and so everyone is 100 percent on their best behaviour up until the time that they’re done competing.
“When people are done competing, they generally leave the Olympic Village for the sake of the athletes who are still competing. Because you want to enjoy all the fun parties and really enjoy the Olympics, but you do not want to take away from the athletes who are still competing.”
Other athletes tell a different story. After the Closing Ceremony at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Australia’s baseball and women’s soccer teams hosted a huge party, complete with a bonfire. “Who knew the village furniture could burn so well,” Aussie soccer player Alicia Ferguson told ESPN. “We did involve the fire wardens, who were very accommodating, and then we started hooking up around our very own Olympic Village bonfire.”
What a time!