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This year’s Olympic Games have social distancing guidelines, cardboard beds, and almost no spectators. Yet despite CNN dubbing it “the first ‘no-fun’ Olympics,” it’s also the first ceremony with one thing we never knew we needed: TikTokers. Since arriving at the Olympic Village, athletes have been poking fun at this year’s unique circumstances and sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses into their day-to-day lives in Tokyo, giving us all a little bit of Olympics FOMO. As a result, we have all ended up on the “2020 Olympians trying to break their anti-sex beds” side of TikTok.
It all started with the beds — specifically, a tweet about the beds. American distance runner Paul Chelimo shared a photo of his bedroom, and pointed out that the beds are made of cardboard. “This is aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes,” Chelimo wrote. “Beds will be able to withstand the weight of a single person to avoid situations beyond sports.”
The “anti-sex bed” label stuck, even though manufacturing company Airweave said that these cots weren’t built to prevent sexual activity, but to be environmentally conscious. In fact, they’re reportedly stronger than wood or metal beds. “Cardboard beds are actually stronger than the one made of wood or steel,” an Airweave representative wrote in a statement to The New York Times. Still, Olympians from around the world decided to test this out for themselves.
“They’re made out of cardboard, yes, but apparently, they’re meant to break at any sudden movements,” said Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan in one video shared to Twitter. He proceeded to aggressively jump on the bed before announcing, “Fake news.”
“Anti-sex” beds at the Olympics pic.twitter.com/2jnFm6mKcB
— Rhys Mcclenaghan (@McClenaghanRhys) July 18, 2021
With that, athletes from all over started trying to break their beds. And thus, the first-ever Olympian TikTok challenge was born.
But the content goes beyond that. Thanks to opening ceremony outfit reveals, “day in the life” videos, and food reviews, it actually feels like we’re at the Olympics in a way we’ve never been before. As one user commented, “I feel like I’ve seen more Olympic TikToks than actual Olympics.”
One of the most prolific posters, American rugby star Ilona Maher, has joked about everything from awkward conversations with other athletes to the Olympic Village dining hall. In one video, Maher said that she often recognizes other TikTokers while walking around the premises. “We go follow each other and have a discussion, so it’s been really cool,” she said, before adding, “Definitely my team is the funniest.”
But when it comes to humor, Team USA does have some competition. Everyone from Australian diver Sam Fricker to Mexican swimmer Angel Martinez has shared gold medal-worthy content. The beds might look uncomfortable and the food might be divisive, but on TikTok, at least, the vibes are immaculate.
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