The Olympic Village: One giant sex den?

A whole lot of lovin' goes down when you cram 10,000 of the world's fittest athletes together for three weeks straight — especially once they're done competing

Russian beach volleyball players
(Image credit: WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The London Games are wrapping up, and reportedly, plenty of hot-bodied athletes — freed from the pressures of competing — are spending their newfound downtime having high-performance sex with each other. "Anyone who wants to be naive and say they don't know what's going on in the Village are lying to themselves," one anonymous (and grammar-challenged) gold medal-winner tells CNN. Here, a concise guide to a side of the Olympics you won't see on NBC:

What kind of antics go on?

"I've seen people having sex right out in the open. On the grass, between buildings, people are getting down and dirty," says Hope Solo, goalkeeper for the United States' women's soccer team, who estimates that 70 to 75 percent of Olympians are hooking up. The Olympic Village is intimate, after all, comprising just 3,000 apartments to accommodate over 10,000 tightly packed athletes for three weeks straight. And this isn't the first time an Olympic Village has hosted a gigantic orgy, say some athletes. American javelin thrower Breaux Greer, for instance, once boasted about having sex with three different women every day during the 2000 Games. "The athletes don't know what to expect the first time they go to the Olympics, but it just happens," says one former gold medalist in his late 30s. "As soon as you finish competing, there's no sleeping until the next day."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Why are they so sex-crazed?

"Athletes are extremists," says Solo. "When they're training, it's laser focus. When they go out for a drink, it's 20 drinks. With a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you want to build memories, whether it's sexual, partying, or on the field."

How do organizers handle it?

The International Olympic Committee has basically shrugged, stating that it "leaves it up to the discretion of each athlete, as it is a private matter." However, since the 1992 Games in Barcelona, organizers have distributed free condoms in Olympic Villages, and "in progressively copious amounts," says Bill Chappell at NPR. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, for example, about 100,000 condoms (sporting the Games' official motto "Faster, Higher, Stronger") were handed out. In 2012, Durex paid to be the official supplier, making 150,000 free condoms available to the London Games' athletes. (About 70,000 have reportedly disappeared from dispensers, so far.) As The Daily Beast points out, that's enough for every athlete to have sex 15 times during his or her Olympic Village residency.

Who's been spotted canoodling with whom?

It's all very hush-hush. In fact, the unofficial second motto of the Olympics, according to some athletes, is, "what happens in the Village stays in the Village." But the rumor mill has hinted at more than a few star-powered hookups: USA basketball's Kobe Bryant has been spotted with Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice (even though he's married). On Piers Morgan's TV show, Ryan Lochte admitted to having a friendly out-of-pool competition with teammate Michael Phelps: Lochte says he's winning handily 60-40. "The body types at this level are so well defined," says U.S. track runner Nick Symmonds. "It feels like the first day at college when you walk in and you’re looking around."

Sources: CNN, Daily Beast, ESPN, Metro, New York Daily News, NPR

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.