The Tokyo Games will test athletes’ resolve and discipline in more ways than one, as organizers have advised them against using the 160,000 free condoms provided in the Olympic Village.
Each of the 11,000 competing athletes will get about 14 condoms as they descend on the Japanese capital for the games next month. But the International Olympic Committee is discouraging athletes from putting the rubbers to use, citing risks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, they hope athletes will bring them back to their home countries as souvenirs.
“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 IOC said, as reported by Tokyo Sports.
With athletes required to stay at least two meters apart from one another according to guidelines published in February, it was already difficult for Olympians to get it on. They are also told to avoid physical contact, including handshakes and hugs.
Athletes are also only permitted to leave the Olympic Village under special circumstances. Violations of rules could lead to penalties.
Condom handouts to Olympians have been a tradition since the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, as an AIDS epidemic swept across the world.
Athletes have been known to get it on during the two-week long spectacle, aided in recent years by an explosion in dating apps. During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, athletes said they used Tinder to meet eligible hook-ups.
Jamie Anderson, an American snowboarder, said “Tinder in the Olympic Village is next level” and that she had to delete her account to “focus on the Olympics,” she told U.S. Weekly.
Condoms are in such high demand during the Olympics that past games have run out of protection. During the 2000 Sydney Summer Games, Australian organizers initially prepared 70,000 condoms but ordered 20,000 more after they ran out halfway through the games.
The Olympic record of condom use goes to the 2016 Rio Games. 450,000 were distributed, about 100,000 of them female condoms, guaranteeing each athlete about 42 condoms for their entire stay. The outbreak of Zika virus in Brazil, which can be transmitted through sex, had raised awareness for safe sex.