Four years ago, 150,000 condoms were available to athletes competing in the Summer Olympics in London.
This year? At the games in Rio? Triple the number of condoms — 450,000 — are ready for male and female athletes in a clinic and vending machines in the Athletes’ Village.
That breaks down to 350,000 prophylactics and 100,000 female condoms — 42 condoms per athlete — plus 175,000 packets of lubricant, according to the International Olympic Committee.
“Welcome to the most promiscuous Olympics in history,” writes The Guardian, which points out that 450,000 condoms is “a hell of a lot,” even by Olympic standards.
“It is an absolutely huge allocation of condoms,” retired Olympic rower Zac Purchase told The Guardian.
So why so many camisinhas? (That’s Portuguese slang for condoms. It means “little shirts.”)
For one thing, female condoms have been added to the mix for the first time. For another, Rio is a hot spot for the Zika virus, which is carried by mosquitoes but can also be transmitted sexually.
Olympic officials have not pointed to Zika concerns as an official reason for the huge condom giveaway. But some countries have sent their athletes to Brazil with their own supplies. The Australian Olympic Committee even teamed with a pharmaceutical company to make special super-strength, Zika-proof condoms its athletes.
The IOC hopes all those condoms will encourage athletes to practice safe sex, the “other” activity athletes so famously engage in at the games that there’s an unofficial athletes’ pledge: “What happens in the village stays in the village.”
Olympics organizers began supplying condoms at the 1988 games in Seoul, according to The Daily Mail.
The tales of extracurricular sex have become legendary — late-night orgies, sex romps in public in the Olympic Village, Tinder overload. Gold medal-winning Australian target shooter Mark Russell once called the village “the most testosterone fueled place on earth.”
But Purchase said that some of those stories are just tall tales.
“But it is all so far from the truth of what it’s like to be in there,” he told The Guardian. “It’s not some sexualized cauldron of activity. We’re talking about athletes who are focused on producing the best performance of their lives.”
With or without their “little shirts”?