An American runner joked that athletes are being forced to sleep on cardboard beds to stop them from having sex – but organisers have hit back, insisting the frames are ‘sturdy’ enough to withstand physical activity.
Paul Chelimo, an American distance runner, poked fun at the ‘sustainable’ carboard beds on Twitter at the weekend – saying the beds can only support a single person ‘to avoid situations beyond sports’.
But the official Olympics Twitter account soon responded, saying the beds are ‘sturdy’ while posting a video of Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan jumping on his.
‘Fake news!’ 21-year-old McClenaghan shouts as he repeatedly jumps up and down on the cardboard frame at the athlete’s village in Tokyo.
American distance runner Paul Chelimo joked that athletes’ beds at the Tokyo Olympics were made of cardboard to stop people having sex in them once the competition is over
Cardboard beds in the athlete’s village at the Tokyo Olympics are sturdy enough for sex, organisers said, alongside a video of Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan jumping on one
‘Thanks for debunking the myth,’ the Olympics official twitter account while retweeting the footage.
‘You heard it first from Team Ireland – the sustainable cardboard beds are sturdy!’
It is far from the first time that organisers of the ‘most sustainable games in history’ have been forced to defend their unusual choice of beds.
In January last year officials denied the beds weren’t suitable for post-competition antics among athletes- saying they will hold up provided the occupant of the bed only invites one other person into bed with them.
Manufacturer Airweave said the bed frames can withstand up to 440lbs (200kg).
‘We’ve conducted experiments, like dropping weights on top of the beds,’ an Airweave spokesperson said.
‘As long as they stick to just two people in the bed, they should be strong enough to support the load.’
There are just fours days to go until the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, which was delayed from last year due to the Covid pandemic.
The event is proving hugely controversial with most Japanese opposed to it going ahead as the country suffers through a fifth wave of Covid infections – with a state of emergency declared in the capital and due to run through the event.
It means that most athletes will perform without crowds present, with gatherings banned to stem the spread of the virus.
Infections are also threatening to de-rail the event for competing athletes, after a Czech beach volleyball player tested positive at the Olympic Village.
Airweave, the company which makes the ‘sustainable’ beds, previously said they can hold up to 440lbs (200kg) – which should be enough for at least two people
Meanwhile Czech volleyball player Ondrej Perusic (pictured right after getting his second Covid jab) tested positive for the virus Sunday in the latest case to affect athletes
Ondrej Perusic submitted ‘a positive sample during everyday testing in the Olympic Village on Sunday, July 18’, Czech Olympic team head Martin Doktor said.
‘He has absolutely no symptoms. We are dealing with all the details and… naturally, the anti-epidemic measures within the team,’ he added.
Doktor said the team was also seeking the postponement of Perusic’s first game at the Olympics with his teammate David Schweiner, scheduled for July 26.
‘We are now looking into the possibility of postponing the games or other options that would allow the boys to start the tournament later on,’ he added.
Perusic, 26, said he was ‘very upset’ but said he understood health was a priority.
‘For now, I don’t see this as the end of the world or a tragedy,’ he said.
‘I was vaccinated and I tried to comply with the public health standards.
‘Unfortunately, I think I made a mistake somewhere and got infected. It’s my responsibility above all,’ he said.
On Saturday, the Czech Olympic Committee reported a staff member had tested positive for Covid-19 upon landing in Tokyo for the Games that start on Friday.
Perusic’s case appears to be the fourth in the Olympic Village after the infections of two South African footballers and their team’s video analyst.
Car-maker Toyota has said it will not display any advertising at the event because of widespread anger that it is being allowed to go ahead
Tokyo is currently in lockdown amid rising Covid cases but the Olympics will still go ahead – albeit without crowds in stadiums
The Olympic Village, a complex of apartments and dining areas in Tokyo, will house 6,700 athletes and officials at its peak during the Games.
Meanwhile Toyota, one of the International Olympic Committee’s biggest sponsors, said it will not display any advertising at the event – underlining fears about just how unpopular the competition could become.
‘There are many issues with these Games that are proving difficult to be understood,’ Toyota Chief Communications Officer Jun Nagata told reporters.
Chief Executive Akio Toyoda, the company founder’s grandson, also confirmed he will be skipping the opening ceremony.
That’s despite about 200 athletes being affiliated with Toyota, including swimmer Takeshi Kawamoto and softball player Miu Goto.
Nagata said the company will continue to support its athletes.
Masa Takaya, a Tokyo 2020 spokesperson, said sponsors each make its own decisions on their messages.
‘There is a mixed public sentiment towards the Games,’ Takaya said.
‘I need to emphasize that those partners and companies have been very supportive to Tokyo 2020. They are passionate about making these Games happen.’