See the Bizarre Beds Olympic Athletes Are Forced to Sleep On

Participants in the games can't sleep anywhere but on these odd accommodations.

The Olympics hosts the world's most skilled athletes for over two weeks, which means more than 10,000 top competitors living in the Olympic Village ahead of and during the games. With some of the most prominent figures in the world staying in these accommodations, one might assume that they offer a comfortable place for Olympians to relax after a day of training or competing. However, Olympic athletes in the village have reported otherwise. Read on to see the bizarre beds that these athletes are being forced to sleep on during the games.

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An Olympic athlete poked fun at the cardboard beds in the Olympic Village.

Olympic beds
AKIO KON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

On July 16, American track and field runner Paul Chelimo gave his followers a glimpse into the life of an Olympian, and it wasn't quite as glamorous as you might have expected. "Beds to be installed in Tokyo Olympic Village will be made of cardboard," Chelimo wrote on Twitter.

The athlete went on to make a handful of jokes at the expense of the ostensibly flimsy beds. "I can't fly business Polaris then sleep on a carton box," Chelimo wrote in one tweet. "At this point, I will have to start practicing how to sleep on the floor; cause If my bed collapses and I have no training on sleeping on the floor, I'm done. More added stress heading into Tokyo!" he added in another post.

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Some speculated that the rickety beds were put in place to ward off any intimacy.

Olympics beds
AKIO KON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

In Chelimo's tweet, he speculated that the less-than-stable beds were "aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes." He continued, "Beds will be able to withstand the weight of a single person to avoid situations beyond sports."

Another athlete went on to disprove this theory, however. Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan shared a video of him jumping vigorously on his bed in the Olympic Village. "They're made out of cardboard, yes. Apparently, they're meant to break at any sudden movements," he said while jumping. "It's fake."

The Olympic's official Twitter also jumped into the conversation to confirm that the beds are not necessarily meant to deter anything specific. They thanked McClenaghan for "debunking the myth," adding, "You heard it here first … the sustainable cardboard beds are sturdy!"

The beds were created to be sustainable.

Olympic beds
AKIO KON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

With thousands of beds needed to host the athletes of the Olympic Games, officials wanted to make sure they created a sustainable product. In Jan. 2020, before the games were delayed due to COVD, the Associated Press reported that the Japanese company Airweave developed cardboard beds made of fully recyclable materials. This sustainable bed initiative makes the 2021 Olympics the most sustainable games to date. According to the AP, the beds can hold up to 440 pounds.

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Accommodations in the Olympic Village have long been scrutinized.

Rio 2016 Olympic Village Tour
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Olympic officials are tasked with providing accommodations for over 10,000 people and then dismantling it all. This undertaking can be a challenge, and the execution is often scrutinized. During the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, competitors reported that there were leaking pipes, blocked toilets, and exposed wires, per the The New York Times. According to the International Business Times, the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, came with unfinished hotel rooms, undrinkable water, and wild dogs running amuck.

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Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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