Tokyo Olympics to distribute condoms in Olympic Village, ask that athletes not use them in Japan

Tokyo Olympics 2021
Posted at 1:29 PM, Jun 24, 2021

Officials with the Tokyo Olympics say they will distribute condoms to athletes staying at the Olympic Village during next month's games — but are warning athletes not to use them until they return home.

The Olympic Village — full of young athletes from around the world visiting a new city for a short time — often earns a tawdry reputation for the level of promiscuity among its residents.

In a 2012 ESPN The Magazine story, athletes spoke about the after-hours goings-on at the Olympic Village.

"There's a lot of sex going on," said U.S. soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo, later estimating that "70 to 75% of Olympians" were having sex at the games.

Beginning in 1988, the International Olympic Committee began handing out condoms at the summer games in Seoul to reduce the spread of HIV. Since then, it seems that officials each year break the record of the number of condoms distributed to athletes.

At the last Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, a local newspaper reported that officials distributed 450,000 condoms to athletes. USA Today reports that the prophylactics were available in green vending machines around the village.

Officials organizing the 2021 Games, slated to begin next month in Tokyo, say they will issue about 160,000 condoms to athletes — but they're asking athletes not to use them until they return to their home countries.

"The distribution of condoms is not for use at the athlete's village, but to have athletes take them back to their home countries to raise awareness" of HIV and AIDS issues," Tokyo 2020 said in a statement to Reuters.

Athletes at the 2021 games will face heavy restrictions in the hopes of limiting the spread of COVID-19, which is still spreading in largely un-vaccinated Japan.

According to NPR, officials will be monitoring athletes' movements via a contact tracing smartphone app. Outside of competition, athletes have been told to stay two meters apart from each other, even during meal times.

Athletes are also not permitted to leave the Olympic Village or accommodations unless they are headed to competition or to a pre-approved destination.

The IOC's decision to move ahead with the games has not been popular in Japan, where infectious disease experts have warned that hosting such a large event could lead to a surge in infections.