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Athletes At The Tokyo Olympics Are Being Given Condoms, And Warnings Not To Use Them

A ball sits outside a court at the Ariake Tennis Park during practice sessions at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.
A ball sits outside a court at the Ariake Tennis Park during practice sessions at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.

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 young athletes mix, mingle and, naturally, get very close.

As they have since the 1980s, organizers ordered thousands of condoms so athletes can safely hook up. 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 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 about HIV/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 that 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 because of 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 the person is found to be a repeat offender. If athletes choose to flout the rules on intimacy, they'll also have to contend with the small cardboard-frame bedsthat are provided to Olympians.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jaclyn Diaz is a reporter on Newshub.