Fri, August 22, 2008

Scoring down in Olympic Village

Athletes using fewer condoms

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Athletes here may be going for the gold, while trying to score a lot less than in previous games.

Officials produced 10,000 condoms for use by athletes at the Olympic Village, but Chinese media are reporting that less than a third of the packs have been scooped up.

A spokesman for the Athletes Village could not confirm the number for Sun Media on Saturday here.

Olympians have been given free condoms since Barcelona in 1992, to help promote safer sex.

Beijing also wants to use the Games to acknowledge the threat of AIDS and HIV. In fact, one Chinese condom maker has produced a series of popular print ads, using condoms as props for Olympic stick-men including as a basketball net and bike wheels.

"There are many young, strong, single people in the athletes' village and, like everywhere, some will fall in love or other things so we need to make condoms available," Ole Hansen, spokesman for UNAIDS China, told Reuters.

"A lot of these young people are not married or in relationships so we want to make sure they have the information and tools to protect themselves if they have sexual encounters."

In Beijing, the condoms are placed into brochures about HIV, available at the medical center at the village.

In 2002, around 100,000 condoms were handed out during the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, against the backdrop of protest by religious groups.

While they ran out of 70,000 condoms during the Sydney Games (20,000 more had to be brought in) Athens doubled the number. However, athletes in Beijing seem to be in a less than sexy mood.

And Athletes Village official told a Chinese website that, as of last Thursday, the 10,500 athletes had been choosing to keep their minds on competing, and not on copulating.

But that could change quickly, as the Games come to a close, and athletes try to find ways to get rid of lingering tension.


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