Organizers Ask Athletes Not To Use Them In Japan : Live Updates: The Tokyo Olympics : NPR

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A ball sits outside a court at the Ariake Tennis Center during practice sessions at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in Tokyo.

David Goldman/AP


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David Goldman/AP


A ball sits outside a court at the Ariake Tennis Center during practice sessions at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in Tokyo.

David Goldman/AP

Organizers of this year’s Olympics in Tokyo are putting a new meaning behind “look, but don’t touch.”

The Games are ordinarily a place where many of the young athletes mix, mingle, and naturally get very close.

As they have since the 1980s, organizers ordered thousands of condoms for athletes to safely hook up in Tokyo. To be specific, Japanese organizers ordered 160,000 condoms to be handed out to athletes in the Olympic Village.

But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tokyo organizers also want participants to refrain from any kind of intimate physical activity outside of their sport.

That means: Those condoms we gave you? Don’t use them — at least not while you’re inside the Olympic bubble.

Organizers say athletes should take the condoms home as souvenirs, and use them to raise awareness for HIV and AIDS. But under no uncertain terms are participants to use them, or engage in any one-on-one philandering, while they are in Japan for the Games, organizers said.

The topic may elicit a giggle, but the penalties athletes face if they violate these rules are serious, as are the reasons for implementing them.

Athletes are under strict coronavirus protocols, as Tokyo and other regions of Japan are under a state of emergency due to COVID-19. They must follow social distancing guidelines and abide by bans on handshakes, high fives, and other types of physical, close contact, according to the rulebook.

Any participant who violates the rules could face fines, disqualification, and the loss of Olympic medals if they’re found to be repeat offenders. If athletes choose to flout the rules on intimacy, they’ll also have to contend with the small cardboard-frame beds that are provided to Olympians.

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