RIO DE JANEIRO – Johnny Weir isn’t sure who, exactly, is having 450,000 condoms worth of sex in the Rio Olympic Athletes Village.
“When I was at the Olympics, my crazy Russian lady coach made me believe that if I even if I had sex with myself, all my energy would go away and I might as well go home,” said Weir, former Olympic figure skater-turned-NBC commentator.
“It’s monk-style living. I don’t know when these athletes that are focused on the greatest moments of their lives are going to have time to throw down and use those condoms.”
Abstinence of the focused athlete aside, the Olympic Village has become notorious for its hook-up culture. Sochi was considered “The Tinder Olympics,” as the dating app was used by athletes to connect in the village. U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte has claimed that “75 percent of Olympians” are having sex in the athletes’ village.
Weir’s right: Many athletes have said they aren’t thinking about sex before competing in their Olympic events.
But after those events? Think of a college campus after finals, if those finals were the culmination of your life’s work and your stress levels had built up close to the point of spontaneous combustion.
“Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do,” said Lochte after the London Games.
So the IOC assumed that athletes will do what’s gotta be done, and loaded up the Rio Games with 450,000 condoms for 10,500 athletes and countless more in the workforce and media. (The much heralded “42 condoms per athlete” stat is actually false, as the machines are placed in areas away from the athletes’ village as well.)
The total is an Olympic record for prophylactics, three times higher than the total for London (150,000). This is partially due to a dramatic increase in female condoms, as 100,000 are available in Rio. And it’s also partially due to the fact that concerns about the Zika virus being sexually transmitted practically mandated the increase.
And it’s mostly due to the fact that putting nearly 11,000 lovely people in close proximity for a month will likely result in natural human passions being stoked. Hey, it’s Rio. It’s the Summer Olympics, with some of the most beautiful, fit people in the world roaming a campus with significant down time – think “It’s a Small World,” but with swimmers, gymnasts and various other people in peak physical form who make you feel as though you’re from a different species.
The question we had for 2016 Olympians:
Are 450,000 condoms enough?
Danell Leyva is a gymnast for Team USA, whom we’ve just told about the 450,000 condoms in Rio.
“Is that more than last time?” he asks.
“It’s a record.”
“Is it twice as many?”
“It’s a lot, I think. The question is: Will that be enough?”
“For me?” he asked, laughing.
“If you want to bring it down to a personal level, I can’t judge.”
“I mean, I don’t know,” said Leyva. “I heard the U.S. basketball team was the one that was using the most condoms in the [last Olympics]. That’s kind of expected.”
We informed Leyva that the U.S men’s basketball team is living on its own cruise ship during the Rio Games.
“Of course they are,” he replied.
Having 450,000 condoms to distribute is all fine and dandy, but access to them is always the key. I remember in the London Olympics, athletes had to either go to the health clinic in the village or hope that their National Olympic Committee was kind enough to place them inside their housing.
(Team Australia, god love’em, had a tub of condoms on the reception area of their athletes’ housing.)
The Rio Games, however, have decided to bring the prophylactics to the people, with giant, colorful machines that literally say “Celebrate With a Condom.”
You can find them in the clinic.
You can find them in the athletes’ entertainment center.
Single greatest thing in #Rio2016 athletes' village?
The condom machine AT THE EXIT OF THE DINING HALL. pic.twitter.com/pt9RbKyiH9
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) August 4, 2016
You can find them – and this was by far our favorite placement – at the exit of the dining hall. Because nothing says romance like the person you’ve been chatting up stopping to crank out a condom on your way out to the dorms.
And you can find them in the media center, where the machine was being refilled on Monday morning, less than a week into the games. (Obviously lots of reporters using them for, ahem, “research.”)
The issue with the machines, according to the athletes, are their lack of subtlety: The crank on the front is rather thunderous, sounding a lot like a roller coaster ascending before a drop.
“You have to turn the thing and it is really loud. I just sort of went in and got a couple and then left, to be honest,” New Zealand equestrian athlete Clarke Johnstone told USA Today.
Race Imboden is a Team USA fencer whom we just told about the 450,000 condoms in Rio.
“Question is, will that be enough?” we asked.
“Enough for me, probably,” he said, “but whether it’s enough for the whole village, I’m not sure. The village gets kind of crazy. I think everybody knows that now.”
“When does it get crazy?”
“When you go to the village in the beginning, it’s relatively quiet. Everybody’s doing their thing. Going to the mess hall, coming back home, saying hello along the way, and then back to training. But then, as the days start getting into the actual events, there will be people coming back to the village at 12 o’clock yelling and screaming. And you’ll, like, meet people and you’ll just know the village is getting a little louder and a little more rowdy and then it’s just a party,” he said.
“A few of the athletes have said that the machines that dispense them are extraordinarily loud.”
“Yeah, they’re like these big hand-crack condom machines. I don’t know why they chose that,” he said. “But we’ll see. I haven’t used it. Yet.”
We’ve spent a lot of time criticizing everything wrong with Rio and its Olympics, which is what happens when your Summer Games are known more for crime, poo water, insect-based diseases and general disrepair than they are for athletic achievement.
But condoms, they got right. (Well, save for the fact that the condoms don’t have the Olympic rings on them, which would make them eBay bait.)
Athletes are having sex. Olympic workers are having sex. Reporters are … well, they’re probably talking about the sex they could have had, but those are reporters for you. Rio is renowned as a sexually free place – or in the case of the city’s numerous prostitutes, a sexually discounted one for the Olympics. Not that anyone attending the Olympics would enter a brothel … right, NBA stars?
“I really applaud the IOC for keeping everyone safe and wrapping it up,” said Johnny Weir.
Even if it means getting one from a machine that says “celebrate with a condom!” as you exit the dining hall.
“That’s bizarre. But everything about these Olympics is quite bizarre. So why would the condom machines not be?” asked Weir.
Listen to Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski podcast from Rio on GRANDSTANDING, featuring beach volleyball’s April Ross: