Free condoms shunned by Olympic athletes

If the amount of free condoms being handed out is any indication, it seems the sex life of Olympic athletes isn't what it used to be.

Two-thirds of the 100,000 condoms available to competitors at the Beijing Games are sitting unused in the Olympic village's medical clinic - in stark contrast to previous games.

Organizers ran out of prophylactics at the 2000 Sydney Games, which forced Athens organisers to nearly double the total available to 130,000 four years later.

"Athletes should know about the condoms - it's a tradition of the Olympic Games," said Vhao Wyanli, assistant director at the medical clinic inside the Olympic village. "It's nothing new."

The 10,500 athletes housed in the Olympic Village have access to the free condoms as part of a campaign on HIV prevention and anti-discrimination.

Vhao said his staff were doing all they could so that star Olympians wouldn't feel awkward about coming into the clinic to ask for them.

"We were told not to look at that corner where they are on display. We should not make them feel nervous," Vhao said. "We just pass them over whenever they ask."

Vancouver 2010 organizers expect to stick with a similar number for the Winter Games, despite the drop-off in the Chinese capital. That'll give the expected 5,500 athletes and officials staying in Olympic villages in the western Canadian city at least 18 condoms each.

Athletes expected the ambiance in the Beijing village to improve as more events draw to a close.

"It's starting to relax, but who knows, maybe the athletes already brought them with them," French pole vaulter Jerome Clavier said.

Samia Hallage, a sports psychologist who works with Brazil's women's volleyball team, said the increased pressure for results could mean athletes are mingling less than usual.

"They are here with only one special interest - to win a medal," Hallage said. "They have to eat well, sleep well. They don't have time to do other things."

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