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Irish gymnast debunks Games bed myth as fake news

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Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan has debunked the idea that the cardboard-framed beds for athletes in the Tokyo Olympic Village are not strong enough to withstand vigorous activity and are therefore “anti-sex” – by recording himself leaping up and down on the one in his room.

Organisers said athletes competing in the Games would sleep on bed frames made from recyclable cardboard and mattresses made of polyethylene materials that would be reused to make plastic products after the Games.

Manufacturer Airweave said the beds could support about 200 kilograms, but some media reports claimed they were made out of cardboard to collapse under the weight of more than one person to promote social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


American distance runner Paul Chelimo wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the decision to have cardboard beds was “aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes”.

McClenaghan took to Twitter to debunk the idea.

“The beds are meant to be ‘anti-sex’ … They’re made out of cardboard, yes, and apparently they’re meant to break at any sudden movements … It’s fake! Fake news,” he said while jumping on his bed in a video clip.

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The official Olympics Twitter account thanked McClenaghan in a tweet on Monday for clearing up the matter and added: “The sustainable cardboard beds are sturdy.”

Organisers plan to give away about 150,000 condoms at the Games, but are telling athletes to take them home rather than use them in the village where social distancing rules and coronavirus measures are top priority.

Olympics officials on Sunday reported the first COVID-19 case among competitors in the village where most of the 11,000 athletes are expected to stay during the July 23-August 8 Games.


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