Fact Check: Have Tokyo Olympics Athletes Been Given 'Anti-Sex' Beds?

Olympic athletes have purposely been given 'anti-sex' beds in order to deter any action outside of the sporting arena, reports claim.

The bed frames, made entirely from recyclable cardboard, will sleep approximately 11,000 competitors and are designed by Japanese manufacturer, Airweave.

The Claim

Rumors have circulated that the eco-friendly beds are designed to collapse under the weight of any more than one occupant in order to discourage sex amid rising cases of COVID-19.

American distance runner and Olympic medalist Paul Chelimo added fuel to the fire by speculating the beds were constructed for "avoiding intimacy" in a tweet over the weekend.

recyclable cardboard beds Olympics
Recyclable cardboard beds and mattresses for athletes seen at the Olympic and Paralympic Village for the Tokyo Games. Akio KON/Getty Images
recyclable cardboard beds Olympics
The cardboard beds at the Tokyo Olympic Village are "sturdy", organisers have said. Akio KON/Getty Images

Beds to be installed in Tokyo Olympic Village will be made of cardboard, this is aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes

Beds will be able to withstand the weight of a single person to avoid situations beyond sports.

I see no problem for distance runners,even 4 of us can do😂 pic.twitter.com/J45wlxgtSo

— Paul Chelimo🇺🇸🥈🥉 (@Paulchelimo) July 17, 2021

"Beds to be installed in Tokyo Olympic Village will be made of cardboard, this is aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes," Chelimo claimed. "Beds will be able to withstand the weight of a single person to avoid situations beyond sports."

Chelimo's tweet quickly went viral, being shared over 10,000 times and liked over 26,000 times on the social media platform.

The Facts

On Sunday, Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan filmed himself repeatedly jumping on a bed inside the Tokyo Olympic Village to disprove the claim.

"In today's episode of fake news at the Olympic Games, the beds are meant to be 'anti-sex'," McClenaghan says as he steps on top of the bed. "They're made out of cardboard yes, but apparently they're meant to break at any sudden movements," the gymnast continues as he vigorously jumps up and down.

"It's fake. Fake news," McClenaghan concludes in the 14-second clip which has been viewed more than 820,000 times since it was posted to Twitter on Sunday.

“Anti-sex” beds at the Olympics pic.twitter.com/2jnFm6mKcB

— Rhys Mcclenaghan (@McClenaghanRhys) July 18, 2021

Thanks for debunking the myth.😂You heard it first from @TeamIreland gymnast @McClenaghanRhys - the sustainable cardboard beds are sturdy! #Tokyo2020 https://t.co/lsXbQokGVE

— Olympics (@Olympics) July 19, 2021

The official Olympics Twitter account quickly responded to the rumors and thanked McClenaghan for putting the debate to rest.

"Thanks for debunking the myth," the account wrote. "You heard it first from Team Ireland gymnast Rhys McClenaghan - the sustainable cardboard beds are sturdy!"

Takashi Kitajima, the general manager of the Athletes Village, told The Associated Press through an interpreter back in January last year that the beds can stand up to 440 pounds.

"Those beds can stand up to 200 kilograms [440 pounds]," Kitajima said. "They are stronger than wooden beds," he added.

Manufacturer Airweave also said their beds have been through rigorous stress tests and are strong enough to support two people.

"We've conducted experiments, like dropping weights on top of the beds," an Airweave spokesperson said, as reported by the Japan Times. "As long as they stick to just two people in the bed, they should be strong enough to support the load."

The Verdict


Tokyo athletes have not been given 'anti-sex' beds.

The beds have been purposely designed to align with the Tokyo 2020 Games' sustainability concept of, "Be better, together—For the planet and the people."

The single bed frames will be recycled into paper products when the games conclude. The mattress components will also be recycled into plastic products.

Newsweek has contacted the Olympics media team for comment.

Meanwhile, major Tokyo Olympics sponsor Toyota will drop all its TV adverts in Japan as the controversial games court widespread criticism in Japan, according to a report.

Toyota chief executive officer, Akio Toyoda, said on Monday he would not be attending the opening ceremony and that its advertising campaign in Japan had been withdrawn.

A spokeswoman told Reuters: "It is true that Toyota will not be attending the opening ceremony, and the decision was made considering various factors including no spectators. We will not be airing any commercials related to the Games in Japan."

The Tokyo Olympics is set to kick off on July 23 and will end on August 8. The worldwide sporting event has been plagued by public concerns as Tokyo was recently placed under its fourth state of emergency over the rise in COVID-19 cases.

There have been a total of 189,000 cases with 1,008 being added to the total in the capital, as of yesterday, Sunday, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

The Japanese public also fears that athletes entering the country could drive up infection rates in the capital and introduce new variants into the country.

Altogether, organizers have found 58 positive cases among athletes, officials and journalists since July 2, according to Reuters.

Olympic bed manufacturer Airweave
File photo: Olympic bed manufacturer Airweave said their beds can withstand a weight of 200 kilos (440 pounds) and have been through rigorous stress tests. Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images
False: The claim is demonstrably false. Primary source evidence proves the claim to be false.
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