Huge blow for single athletes in new Tokyo Olympic village rules

·4-min read
John Coates, pictured here addressing the media in Melbourne.
John Coates says athletes will not be able to hang round the Olympic village after their events. Image: Getty

Olympic athletes’ villages are well-known for being a hotbed of sexual activity, with single athletes ready to mingle once their events are finished.

One of the most famous examples came at the 2016 Games in Rio when Brazilian Ingrid Oliveira reportedly kicked her synchronised diving teammate out of their room so she could hook-up with a canoeist.

The village antics are so renowned that organisers handed out around 450,000 condoms to athletes at Rio 2016.

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But things will be very different at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo after the IOC announced some major changes on Wednesday.

Athletes at the Tokyo Games will not have the luxury of hanging around in the village once they’ve wrapped up their events.

There will be no late-night parties in the village and certainly no nights - or early mornings - on the town.

Instead of getting to know their global neighbours, Olympic athletes will be encouraged to leave Japan a day or two after they’ve finished competing.

Australian International Olympic Committee (IOC) official John Coates said the purpose-built athletes’ village must be the safest place in Tokyo.

IOC President Thomas Bach and other officials have been in the Japanese capital this week as a show of support for the organisers as they try to arrange the Games despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the decision in March to postpone the Games, the Olympics are now due to begin on July 23, 2021.

Over 11,000 athletes are expected to descend on Tokyo for the Olympics and thousands more will come for the subsequent Paralympics. The majority will stay at the athletes' village.

Coates, who has accompanied Bach to the Japanese capital in his position as the IOC's Coordination Committee for the Games, said the number of athletes would not be reduced and that it was down to organisers to make them feel safe.

“We have to make sure that the Olympic village is... the safest place in Tokyo,” said Coates.

“The athletes have to have confidence in the safety of that.”

In a break with tradition, though, Coates said athletes would not be able to stay in the village for the duration of the Games.

“The athletes, once their competition finishes, will have one day, two days and then they will go home,” he said.

“The period of staying longer, in a village, increases the potential for problems.”

John Coates and Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshiro, pictured here addressing the media.
John Coates and Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshiro. (Photo by Rodrigo Reyes Marin-Pool/Getty Images)

Wild tales of sex and partying in Olympic village

That means we probably won’t be hearing the wild tales of village life that always come out during an Olympic Games.

Oliveira was at the centre of an international media frenzy in Rio when her synchronised diving partner Giovanna Pedroso claimed she’d been kicked out of the room they were sharing so Oliveira could spend the night with canoeist Pedro Goncalves.

Reports claimed Oliveira and Goncalves had a “marathon sex session”, which drove a rift between Oliveira and Pedroso and saw them finish dead-last in the 10m platform.

Oliveira admitted she did sleep with Goncalves, but said it was perfectly normal for athletes staying in the village.

“People don’t know, but in the Olympics it’s normal,” she said last year.

“You should have seen the number of condoms that were distributed in the Olympic Village.

“They were everywhere including the canteen and they weren’t there for people to make balloons.”

Ingrid Oliveira and Giovanna Pedroso, pictured here at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Ingrid Oliveira and Giovanna Pedroso compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

In 2016, Aussie Olympic long-jumper David Culbert said athletes were often jealous of teammates who finished their events early in the program.

“You were slightly envious of a diver or someone on the opening morning - they're done by lunchtime day one,” Culbert told Fox Sports.

“Therefore you've got 16 days of Club Med on steroids (and I mean that in the nicest possible way). It's a ramped-up, hyped-up Club Med if you no longer have to compete.”

In 2012, Sam Alipour of ESPN quoted a number of athletes - including American shooter Josh Lakatos - in lifting the lid on the sex and partying that goes on in an Olympic village.

“Lakatos didn’t want to leave. He knew from his experience four years earlier in Atlanta, where he’d won silver, that the Olympic Village was just about to erupt into a raucous party, and there was no way he was going to miss it,” Alipour wrote.

Lakatos said of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney: “Swear to God, the entire women’s 4x100 relay team of some Scandinavian-looking country walks out of the house, followed by boys from our side.

“And I’m just going, ‘Holy crap, we’d watched these girls run the night before’.”

with agencies

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