Updated Mar 20, 2024 - World

No more COVID bans: Free condoms in abundance at Paris Olympics

Illustration of different colored condoms arranged like the Olympic rings.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Safer sex is back at the Olympics.

Why it matters: The COVID-era "intimacy ban" instituted during the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 is officially lifted.

  • Organizers will be providing 300,000 condoms for 2024 athletes in Paris, Laurent Michaud, Olympic and Paralympic Villages director, recently told Sky News.
  • "We wanted to create some places where the athletes will feel very enthusiastic and comfortable so they can have some conversations, discussions and to share their core values about sports," Michaud said.

State of play: Olympic Village is expected to have more than 14,000 residents, including athletes and sports officials, Michaud said.

  • The village will include a club with a lounge and non-alcoholic bar as part of the effort to encourage conviviality.
  • Bed frames in Olympic Village are made of cardboard.

Flashback: Providing condoms at the Olympics began in 1988 at the summer games in Seoul to raise HIV and AIDS awareness.

  • At the Rio Olympics in 2016, a record-breaking 450,000 condoms were provided.

Flashback: Despite 2021 precautions, Tokyo saw its highest COVID case count since the pandemic began after athletes, staff and media arrived to Japan.

  • Athletes in Tokyo were still given condoms (160,000 total), but they were asked to take them to their home countries.

Reality check: It's unclear how much sex athletes actually have at the Olympics, as they've shared contrasting reports.

  • Some reports have said athletes are incredibly focused on their sports performance and minimizing distractions, and others have said that the Olympians are very sexually active in the village.

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