The Olympics are here, an event that brings people together from all over the world—in more ways than one. In Rio, all sorts of world records are being set, and here’s another. The number of condoms supplied to Olympic athletes in the Olympic village has reached an all-time high. The current number of condoms handed out at the 2016 Olympics stands at about 450,000, not to mention the 175,000 packets of lubricant with which Olympians are also being supplied. This is the world record for the largest number of contraceptives ever provided to the participants of the Olympic Games.
This isn’t exactly a surprising trend, as the numbers have been on a steady increase ever since they first began providing contraceptives at the Olympic games. This tradition began in 1988 at the Summer Games in Soeul; and although the 2016 athletes have had to contend with sewer-infested waters and other dire conditions in the Olympic Village, a shortage of condoms isn’t going to be a problem—not when they have supplied 42 condoms per athlete. At numbers that high, presuming that only one condom is used per sexual encounter, each athlete could engage in 84 separate encounters and be fully protected.
About a third as many condoms were handed out during the Games in London in 2012, but Brazil is in the midst of a Zika outbreak, so the extra precaution is seen as an absolute necessity. With the discovery that Zika can be sexually transmitted, Rio is taking all the steps it can to quell the spread of the disease. Zika has been linked to serious conditions, particularly for pregnant women. It can result in microcephaly, which is abnormal smallness of the head, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development.
It’s important to have all the protection readily available because hormones will certainly be surging at the Olympic games. According to a 2012 ESPN expose, sexy times are to be expected at the games:
“Olympians are young, supremely healthy people who’ve been training with the intensity of combat troops for years. Suddenly they’re released into a cocoon where prying reporters and overprotective parents aren’t allowed. Pre-competition testosterone is running high. Many Olympians are in tapering mode, full of excess energy because they’re maintaining a training diet of up to 9,000 calories per day while not actually training as hard.”
But everyone seems to know that the athletes are strong, sexy individuals, who should take advantage of the break in their rigorous training schedules to get a little action. Ghostbusters and Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones recently posted a video on Twitter of her driving past the Olympic Village.
In it, she admires the Olympic Village from afar. “Where all the athletes live at, yo,” she says as they drive past, “It’s called the Olympic Village. I really feel like there’s a lot of sexuals up in there, yo. A lot of sexuals.”
But is sex good for an Olympian? For the longest time, there was a commonly held belief that sexual activity could have a negative impact on an athlete’s performance. This myth dated back to the Ancient Greeks—the very people who were responsible for creating the Olympics. They believed that athletes should have total and complete devotion to their sport, forsaking every other pleasure in favor of their training. But as far as modern science can tell, there are no noticeable drawbacks for an athlete if he or she engages in sexual congress prior to engaging in their sport of choice.
Besides which, it stands to reason that athletes at the peak of their physical fitness would have a higher sex drive. After all, exercise promotes an improvement of blood flow; and it is known to stimulate the central nervous system. Multiple studies have shown that individuals who engage in exercise throughout their lives enjoy longer and healthier libidos. Although there are no studies that have looked explicitly at sexual performance and athletic performance, it’s fairly safe to say that sex is as good for an athlete as it is for the rest of us — which is to say, very!
So while the number may seem high, it seems like it’s probably for the best that there is a surplus of contraceptives, particularly because there is also a likely surplus of sexual activity in Rio’s 2016 Olympic Village.