Organizers ask athletes not to use them in Japan: Live Updates: Tokyo Olympics: NPR

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A ball lies outside a court at the Ariake Tennis Center during practice sessions at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in Tokyo.



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A ball lies outside a court at the Ariake Tennis Center during practice sessions at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, July 20, 2021, in Tokyo.

David Goldman/AP

The organizers of this year’s Olympics in Tokyo are giving new meaning to ‘look, but don’t touch’.

The Games are usually a place where many of the young athletes mingle, mingle, and of course get very close.

As they have done since the 1980s, organizers ordered thousands of condoms for athletes to hook up safely in Tokyo. To be precise, Japanese organizers ordered 160,000 condoms to be distributed to athletes in the Olympic Village.

But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tokyo organizers also want participants to abstain from each kind of intimate physical activity outside of their sport.

That means those condoms we gave you? Don’t use them – at least not while you’re in the Olympic bubble.

Organizers say athletes should take the condoms home as souvenirs and use them to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. But under no-nonsense conditions, participants are allowed to use them, or flirt one-on-one, while in Japan for the Games, organizers said.

The subject may spark a laugh, but the penalties athletes face for breaking these rules are serious, as are the reasons for applying them.

Athletes are subject to strict coronavirus protocols as Tokyo and other regions of Japan are under a state of emergency due to COVID-19. They must follow social distancing guidelines and abide by a ban on handshakes, high fives and other forms of physical, close contact, according to the rule book.

Any participant who breaks the rules can faced with fines, disqualification and loss of Olympic medals if found to be repeat offenders. If athletes choose to ignore the rules of intimacy, they will also have to deal with the small cardboard beds provided to Olympians.

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