What does it take to become an Olympic athlete? Two things seem obvious to achieving success as an Olympic competitor: dedication and commitment. It also is apparent by looking at the athletes that they take great care of their bodies, at least as far as training is concerned.
Two stories from the Olympic village, though, make one wonder if that is true. The first is the news story that 150,000 condoms were available for the 10,500 athletes to use during the games. That is an average of 14 condoms per athlete or 28 per couple (or coupling, ahem!).
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, condoms are not a new item available to the athletes, but the sheer volume of them is. In Seoul, in 1988, there were 8,500 condoms available; in Barcelona, in 1992, the number was 50,000; and in Sydney, in 2000, there were initially 70,000 condoms given out, and an additional 20,000 were supplied when they ran out.
Many of these athletes were probably under the impression that using a condom meant they were having “safe sex.” As shown in CWA’s report, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases: The Cost of Free Love,” there is no such thing as “safe sex” outside of a monogamous relationship, and no guarantee that you will not acquire an STD; even if you use a condom, you only reduce your risk of getting one.
Lloyds Pharmacy in the United Kingdom has a webpage called “Sex Degrees of Separation,” wherein you can enter your age and how many sexual partners you have had “to calculate the number of indirect (and direct) sexual partners you have had, going back six degrees of separation.” Basically, when you have sex with someone you are exposed to any STDs your partner has and any he or she may have acquired from their previous partners and so on and so forth. If the tales of rampant sex at the Olympics are true — and the increasing number of condoms would indicate it is — the athletes will find they have many, many “direct and indirect” sexual partners and, thus, an increased exposure to STDs.
How many of these athletes are leaving London with Human papillomavirus (HPV), Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, or any other STD? They spent years training, eating healthy, and making sure they were in peak physical condition to get to London and yet risk all of that for casual sex.
That seems to be the way of American swimmer Ryan Lochte, according to his mother. On the set of the Today show she said, “He goes out on one-night stands.” She explained, “He’s not able to give fully to a relationship, because he’s always on the go.”
We can only hope she meant he only dates a girl once, but an ESPN Magazine article seems to suggest his mother knows what she’s talking about. Lochte estimates how many Olympians were engaging in sex in the village, “I’d say it’s 70 percent to 75 percent …” and followed up by saying, “Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.” He did admit he is capable of having a relationship but evidently preferred to be unencumbered for this Olympics. “My last Olympics, I had a girlfriend — big mistake,” Lochte said. “Now I’m single, so London should be really good. I’m excited.”
So, while the world watched the games and tracked the medal count, the athletes were counting the notches on their bedposts.