Did Olympic Athletes Really Have to Sleep on Cardboard Beds?


No, this is not fake news. Olympic athletes did indeed sleep on cardboard beds. Can you imagine? It's just one more grueling challenge for people who, for years and years, have made tremendous sacrifices in the hope of becoming an Olympian. Sleeping on a cardboard bed?

This is the real reason why I'm not an Olympic athlete. Well, this and the fact my sport of choice isn't recognized yet by the stuffy officials. Someday, pepperoni pizza eating will attract competitive eaters from all over the world, and then we'll see who's the best in Olympic and Paralympic history. I might even break the world record




Why did the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games happen in 2021?

Not many events have been able to postpone the summer Olympics. Then along comes the Coronavirus. Countries around the world did their best to keep their people safe. At some point, the Olympic Committee decided to postpone the Olympics for a year because many thought that would be safer for all the athletes and the spectators.


Why sustainable cardboard for the beds?

Hosting the Olympics creates a lot of excitement and joy. And like any great, rip-roaring party, there's a lot to clean up afterward. Hundreds of thousands of tons of waste are disposed of after each event, and for 2020, the Olympic Committee and Japan thought it would be good to use sustainable cardboard furniture.

These cardboard beds would then be donated to national organizations instead of transporting to a landfill. And so begins the hard-to-believe, yet true story of asking the finest athletes in the world to sleep on bed frames made of cardboard. I wonder if there are plans for a Bad Idea competition to be held at the next Olympics.


By the way, this isn't the first time someone thought of making a bed out of cardboard. Cardboard furniture has been around for years. In fact, you can get practically a whole room in a box.




Why cardboard?

It may surprise you to know that structurally engineered cardboard can withstand greater loads than normal lumber. Once folded into scientifically designed shapes, regular, old cardboard gains tremendous compressive strength.

That's a good thing because some Olympians weigh over 300 pounds. Try this for yourself. Take a rectangular piece of cardboard, fold it along the flutes to create a multi-walled triangular shape and then stand it up on its end. Then get someone you don't much like to stand on it. Maybe a little brother. (Just kidding.)


What did the cardboard beds look like?

The design was ingenious. The bed frame was made of folded cardboard, and this meant it could be shipped flat and folded once the beds arrived at the facility. To be clear, it was only the bed frames made of this sturdy cardboard. The mattresses, linens, and duvets were made from more traditional materials.


Other non-sanctioned Olympic events

Let's just say "extra-curricular activities" are not new to a bunch of young, full-of-energy people who get together halfway around the world. Apparently, according to social media, the Tokyo Olympics followed suit.




Going back to the Greeks, there has always been plenty of excitement and physical trials surrounding the athletes. Legend has it that gymnasts can occupy a special place in this arena, only don't expect to see any of it appear on the official event roster any time soon.


Last minute touch and go

We should be all glad that the Tokyo Olympics happened at all. Right up until the last minute, many in Tokyo were frightened of how the Olympics might worsen Covid during the events. Protests and demonstrations by concerned residents of Tokyo expressed their reservations until the final days before the event.

On July 17th, the Kyodo News reported the IOC confirmed the first positive case of Covid-19 had been detected among the athletes. Many wanted the event canceled even at this late date.


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