While the athletes have been scoring on the fields, roads, tracks, arenas and courts of play at the 14th Paralympic Games, it has emerged that many of them have been scoring just as often during their down time.
The Paralympians have apparently almost worked their way through 11 000 condoms. More have had to be ordered, tweeted Gareth Davies, a Paralympics correspondent for the Daily Telegraph on Saturday: “Condoms: seven boxes of 1 600 each have already been supplied to the Village. A re-order was made yesterday. That’s elite sport @owenslot!” His tweet was in response to a column by Owen Slot of the Times yesterday, in which he debated the concept of the Paralympics as an elite sport.
“Vast numbers of the Paralympians here in London are elite athletes,” wrote Slot. “But some of them are not. And that is not a criticism. It is just the way it is.”
And having lots of sex seems to be the way it is, with some former Paralympic athletes suggesting Davies was a little shy in his calculations as to how many condoms are being used. Writing for Channel 4, the host broadcaster, James Ballardie, did his maths and came up with a total of almost 43 000.
“The 4 280 Paralympians competing at this summer’s Games make up 28.571 percent of the 14 700 total number of athletes competing at the Olympics and Paralympics combined. That means they’ll have ploughed through an impressive total 42 857 condoms by the time of the closing ceremony – with an impressive condom per athlete ratio of 10.2 condoms each.”
Ballardie quoted Team GB powerlifter Ali Jawad, who was born without legs, but seems to have all of his other faculties intact: “We’ll probably use about 90 percent of the condoms because we’re crazy. We get excited very easily. That’s why I’m going to the Paralympics, why I’ve worked so hard for four years, for the free condoms.”
The Paralympic motto is “Spirit in Motion”, which was changed after the 2004 Athens Games from “Mind, Body, Spirit”. Motion might be the appropriate word here, according to Giles Long, who swam at three Paralympics for Great Britain and is now a TV expert for Channel 4 at these Games: “Disabled people sometimes find it harder to get sex at home, but when they get to the Games, all that can change. There’s a lot to be said for shared experience. If you’re at the Games, you don’t have to explain to someone what it’s like to not be able to see or walk properly or whatever. You’re well past that ‘Oh! You’ve got a disability!’ stage of getting to know someone.”
Ballardie interviewed Dr Tuppy Owens, who runs a sex and disability helpline called Outsiders. “It must be amazing at the Paralympics,” she says. “One thing they say about people who become disabled is that they get to know their bodies much more. They may be more likely to use the condoms because they are used to looking after themselves, and they’ll go to great lengths to do so,” Owens said.
“Also, I have noticed that people of small stature are often highly sexed and I have a theory that this is because they have, out of proportion to the rest of their bodies, large heads and genitals, thus probably have a higher proportion of testosterone whizzing around their bodies. I don’t know if this could raise the number of condoms used. Anyway, I’ve never been able to persuade any scientist to test this out…”
There is a legendary story told of sex at the Paralympics in which an athlete saw two wheelchairs sitting outside a car one evening. The athlete took the chairs inside, thinking someone had left them there by accident, as you do with wheelchairs.
The next day she returned to find two Paralympians stuck in the back of the car. Minds in motion indeed. – Sunday Independent