There are a few things athletes want to take home from the Olympics: medals, good memories, new friends. But there are a couple of things Olympic organizers hope athletes won’t take with them: venereal diseases and unwanted pregnancies. That’s why officials are providing 450,000 condoms to the athletes this year.
“This is considered sufficient to encourage athletes to practice safe sex while in Brazil for the Olympic Games,” IOC officials told Brazil’s Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, which noted that this is the most condoms ever handed out around Olympic Village, where most of the athletes stay.
With 10,500 athletes set to compete this summer, that’s 42 condoms a piece, which means athletes would have to be getting busy more than twice a day to use them all. In London, officials gave out just 150,000 condoms to the athletes, or just 14 per athlete.
The condoms, which are being provided by Brazil’s health ministry, will be handed out in two varieties, officials say. There will be 350,000 traditional condoms and 100,000 female condoms. The latter is a new addition this year, along with 175,000 packets of lubricant.
“It is an absolutely huge allocation of condoms,” Olympic rowing gold and silver medalist Zac Purchase, who competed in London and Beijing, told the Guardian. Now retired, Purchase speculates that the majority of the condoms won’t be needed.
“[I]t is all so far from the truth of what it’s like to be in there. It’s not some sexualized cauldron of activity,” Purchase said. “We’re talking about athletes who are focused on producing the best performance of their lives.”
Officials, however, don’t want to take any chances.
“Athletes can play an important role in the fight against HIV and AIDS,” the international committee told Folha.
The condoms can also protect against the Zika virus, which ravaged Brazil earlier this year. The virus that has shown to cause birth defects in fetuses can be both sexually transmitted and spread through mosquitoes. The chances of the latter, however, are less likely now that it’s winter in Brazil and the mosquito population is on the decline, a World Health Organization official said Tuesday while addressing reporters traveling to Rio.
The Olympic Village has long had the reputation of being a place where athletes hook up. Officials first handed out condoms at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Slate reports, allocating 8,500.
As the amount of condoms has increased, so have the ways in which athletes go about meeting each other. While they can still lock eyes with a potential mate over lunch at the cafeteria, they can also turn to their smartphones to see who’s around.
“Tinder in the Olympic Village is next level,” U.S. snowboarder Jamie Anderson told US Weekly during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. “It’s all athletes! In the mountain village, it’s all athletes. It’s hilarious. There are some cuties on there.”
Anderson may not have needed any of the 100,000 provisions supplied then, however. She went on to echo Purchase’s remarks above.
“There was a point where I had to be like, ‘Okay, this is way too distracting,’ ” she said about Tinder. “I deleted my account to focus on the Olympics.”
Tinder abstinence appeared to work for her. Anderson took home gold in the slopestyle snowboarding competition that year.