‘Very Green': Olympic Athletes Talk About Those Cardboard Beds in Tokyo

The cardboard beds at the Athletes Village at the Tokyo Olympics have been setting the Internet abuzz all week

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The beds in the Olympic Village – which are made of cardboard – have been the talk of Tokyo this week. Here’s what a couple of Olympic athletes think of the buzzy beds at the Tokyo Olympics.

NBC 7 San Diego anchor Steven Luke caught up with Olympians in Tokyo like archers Brady Ellison – who lives part-time in Chula Vista in San Diego County – and Jack Williams and they each the beds were good and comfortable – and eco-friendly.

An athlete posted a theory on social media that the cardboard beds in the Athlete's Village at the Tokyo Olympics were made that way to prevent athletes from getting intimate. That theory has been debunked. Hear from Team USA athletes on their cardboard beds.

Brady Ellison, Team USA Archery

“They’re trying to be very green on these villages and they’re made out of cardboard and recycled stuff,” Olympic archer Brady Ellison told NBC 7 anchor Steven Luke in Tokyo, Japan, this week.

But are they sturdy?

Yes. Yes, they are.

“They have like a 500-pound rating on them, so I don’t think – you could probably get a whole gymnast team on a bed and it’s not going to break or anything,” he added.

They have like a 500-pound rating on them.

Brady Ellison, Team USA Archer

Jack Williams, Team USA Archery

OK, but are the cardboard beds comfortable?

Team USA archer Jack Williams said the set-up is perfectly comfortable.

“I actually kinda like it,” he told Luke in Tokyo. “I can’t tell a difference.”

I actually kinda like it.

Jack Williams, Team USA Archery

How and Why Did the Cardboard Beds at the Tokyo Olympics Go Viral?

As Olympic athletes began settling into the Athletes Village in Tokyo, photos of the cardboard beds began circulating on social media leading many to scratch their heads. What were these odd, unexpected accommodations?

On July 16, U.S. track and field athlete Paul Chelimo tweeted about the beds, suggesting that the carboard frames – which, to the naked eye, looked a bit flimsy – were “aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes.”

But Chelimo’s theory is just not true.

According to TODAY, back in January 2020, Olympics organizers told the Associated Press that they were planning to create cardboard beds for the Tokyo Olympics athletes sleeping in the Olympic Village for eco-friendly purposes.

Organizers wanted to be able to recycle the beds into paper products after the Tokyo Games were over. At the time, Takashi Kitajima, the general manager of the Athletes Village told AP the beds weren’t flimsy at all – were “stronger than wooden beds” – and would be able to support 440 pounds.

So, in the end, the beds are just an exercise in sustainability.

On July 17, Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan posted a video of himself jumping on his cardboard bed at the Athletes Village in Tokyo and the frame withstood the motion.

He said the idea of the beds being used as a way to prevent sex in the Athletes Village was “fake, fake news.”

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