Northern Ireland gymnast Rhys McClenaghan has debunked reports warning cardboard beds at the Tokyo Olympic Village aren’t strong enough for sex – by filming himself repeatedly jumping on a bed.
“The beds are meant to be anti-sex. They’re made out of cardboard, yes, but apparently they’re meant to break with sudden movements. It’s fake — fake news,” the Team Ireland gymnast said.
A report in the New York Post claimed the beds were deliberately flimsy to promote social distancing and discourage athletes from pairing up outside the Games.
The officials Olympics Twitter profile shared McClenaghan’s video.
It thanked the Newtownards man who is one of the favourites for a medal in the men’s pommel horse, for “debunking the myth” and added “the sustainable beds are sturdy!”
McClenaghan has been sharing his experiences on social media of his preparations ahead of the Games, which start on July 23.
While confined to a hotel room, outside his gym training, at a university in Japan he has talked of his confidence and of his stimulation levels being “through the roof” because of his preparation and the set-up.
"I’m super excited to be here,” he added in a video on his arrival at the Olympic village.
"Finally a dream come true.”
Olympics Games organisers have released several Covid-19 Playbooks: 30-plus page dossiers outlining measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
The IOC has also outlawed hugging and handshaking, but is to distribute around 160,000 condoms to athletes. However, they have stressed, the are only souvenirs.
The report in the New York Post on the beds was based on a tweet by US distance runner Paul Chelimo who said the cardboard beds were “aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes”.
“Beds will (only) be able to withstand the weight of a single person to avoid situations beyond sports,” he tweeted.
It’s not the first time the durability of the beds has been questioned.
In January, manufacturer Airweave said they can withstand a weight of 440 pounds and have been through rigorous stress tests, after Australian basketball player Andrew Bogut raised concerns.
“We’ve conducted experiments, like dropping weights on top of the beds,” a spokesperson told AFP.
“As long as they stick to just two people in the bed, they should be strong enough to support the load.”
Thousands of athletes will stay at the Olympic Village during the pandemic-delayed 2020 Tokyo Games, which starts on Friday.
Despite warnings to “avoid unnecessary forms of physical contact”, organisers are expected to hand out 160,000 condoms but the organising committee warned: “The distributed condoms are not meant to be used at the Olympic Village.”
Instead, they are supposed to be “brought back by athletes to their respective home countries and to help them support the campaign to raise awareness (about HIV/AIDS)”.