The 2021 Tokyo Olympics ended six months ago, but there’s one aspect of the games I still haven’t stopped thinking about: the infamous cardboard beds. In case you forgot, athletes who competed in last year’s Olympics slept on recycled beds, and people on Twitter had a lot to say about it. After the sleepers went viral in Tokyo, everyone wants to know: Are cardboard beds at the 2022 Winter Olympic Village? Here’s the sleep situation.
According to the Beijing 2022 Olympics website, “the Village facilities will include 2,300 beds for athletes and officials [traveling] to the Winter Olympics” — and none of them will be made of cardboard. The cardboard beds at the 2021 Summer Olympics went viral after U.S. distance runner Paul Chelimo tweeted pictures of his bed on July 16 and claimed the use of cardboard was “aimed at avoiding intimacy among athletes,” aka “anti-sex.”
Alas, the real reason is less scandalous. In September 2019, per Inside The Games, Tokyo Olympics organizers announced the beds in the Olympic Village would be “recycled into paper products after the Games, with the mattress components recycled into new plastic products,” making the meme-worthy beds the first Olympic and Paralympic beds to be made “almost entirely from renewable sources.”
Luckily for the athletes competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics, the beds are far from cardboard. Team USA luger Summer Britche replied to the comment asking about the beds in a Jan. 27 TikTok, saying, “Not only do we not have cardboard beds here, but it’s as if the Beijing organizing committee said, ‘How can we absolutely just one-up Tokyo?’ And this is what they went with.”
In the next clip, Britcher holds a small remote with eight buttons that each have an illustration of a different bed position to choose from. Britcher presses a random button, and the bed begins to rise into a comfortable upright position.
Ann Hoffmann, a ski jumper on Team USA, also showed off the versatile bed in a room tour posted to the Team USA TikTok on Feb. 1. “The beds can actually change different shape. They go from being all flat to being all curvy, so that’s awesome,” she says in the video showing off the bed and a pillow with a design of Bing Dwen Dwen, the Beijing 2022 mascot.
If you’re mind wasn’t already blown, enjoy this little tidbit: There’s a “Zero G” mode, which presumably is meant to imitate a zero-gravity feeling. At the end of her TikTok, Britcher hops into bed and shared, “I’m in Zero G mode now. It’s phenomenal.”
Sorry Tokyo, but it looks like Beijing’s got you beat.