LONDON—So I've been reading oodles of articles about the copious sex that occurs at the Olympic games, the latest of which is, of course, set to begin in London. Article after article about the 150,000 condoms that will be made freely available to the athletes, endless anecdotes from athletes who attended previous games recounting the prodigious shagging that takes place among the mostly young athletes, all of whom are fit, primed and ready to go, albeit after they have competed.
But what I have not found is anything that speaks to the issue of underage athletes, and how, if at all, they are protected from being exposed to sexual activity, or taking part in it themselves. After combing through dozens of recent articles, including ones from U.K. papers that have been more than a little bombastic of late about the harms that come from all that internet porn, the only reference, and a brief one at that, to the fact that minors are also exposed to sex at the games was in an ESPN article published July 14, headlined Will you still medal in the morning?
"In Beijing," it says, "even the adolescent female gymnasts got sassy with the water polo and judo boys who shared their training room." An odd statement, given the creepy shades of Penn State that emanate from the "training room" reference.
It's hard to find out exactly how many underage athletes will be competing this summer, but for U.S. athletes, at least, there is no age limit to compete in the Olympics. Some sports, however, do have age requirements, including the following imposed by certain international federations:
- Bobsled (minimum of 14 years old)
- Boxing (17-32)
- Diving (minimum of 14)
- Equestrian (16 or older)
- Figure skating (15 by July 1 of previous year)
- Gymnastics (must be 16 years old in Olympic year)
- Judo (15 or older), luge (16 or older)
- Soccer (under 23)
- Team handball (over 18)
- Weightlifting (17 or older)
- Wrestling (must be at least 17 on day of Opening Ceremonies).
In addition to those specific age requirements, a person must be 16 during the calendar year in which the Olympics are held, which means an individual can compete when they are 15 years old if they turn 16 later the same year.
Needless to say, the Olympics are about sport and the magnificence of individual and team achievement, but as the mainstream media cannot seem to get enough of the sex angle, it would seem equally appropriate to wonder whether any accommodations at all are being made for the ones who are under the age of 18.
Other than the ESPN mention, though, not one paper that this writer has looked at has even broached the subject, including from the more conservative British papers, whose anti-porn rants of late have been, dare I say, Olympian in their severity.