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Wed August 8, 2012
The Torch

Rogue Condoms Appear In Olympic Village; Organizers Take Action

It should come as no surprise that Olympics organizers take brand endorsements and official suppliers very seriously. That extends beyond logos on shorts and shoes — up to, and including, condoms. That's right, the Olympics has an "official" condom — and organizers want to get to the bottom of how a bucket of rogue condoms reached the Olympic Village.

As has happened before at the London Games, it started with a tweet.

Olympian Caroline Buchanan, a BMX rider from Australia, posted a photo of a bucketful of "Kangaroo condoms" (tagline: "for the gland downunder"), in what might have been seen an innocent homage to her homeland.

Turns out, Olympics organizers aren't big on that kind of thing. In fact, there are "brand police" looking for attempts at ambush marketing at the London Games.

"We will look into this and ask that they are not handed out to other athletes because Durex are our supplier," a spokeswoman said, according to The Guardian.

Representatives from Pasante and Ansell, two companies whose condoms are in the unofficial bucket, said it was likely just a prank carried out by the athletes.

But Lawrence Boon of Pasante did manage to find a gilded lining to the controversy: "We have no association with the Olympics," he told Reuters, "but we did launch a gold condom this year for champions."

Condoms have been provided free of charge at the Olympic Village since the 1992 Barcelona Games. And they've been distributed in progressively copious amounts. Some 100,000 were provided for Beijing's 2008 Games, printed with the Olympic motto "Faster, Higher, Stronger."

Durex paid to be the official supplier at the London Games, and they sent 150,000 free condoms to the Olympic Village as part of the deal.

As the Daily Beast wrote, "Averaged among 10,490 athletes, that's enough condoms for every athlete to have sex 15 times over the Olympics' three weeks."

If that supply has already been depleted — five days before the end of the games — it might confirm the stories that have depicted the Olympic Village as a hotbed of hookups among athletes. The logic goes like this: The Olympians are mostly young, fit people, with a lot of energy and, if you will, a questing nature. And they all have something in common: They're Olympic athletes.

Sam Alipour wrote about the issue for ESPN, in an article called "Will you still medal in the morning?"

Talking to Alipour, U.S. target shooter Josh Lakatos recalled his experience at the 2000 Sydney Olympics thusly: "I've never witnessed so much debauchery in my entire life."

The kangaroo condoms in London's Olympic Village are the latest intrigue involving Australia's trademark animal. Last week, a "boxing kangaroo" that had been placed next to a container of Durex condoms went missing from the village's medical headquarters.

A note was taped to the wall to request its return, signed "a very disappointed medical staff."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.