If you've never heard of the Olympic Village it's easily one of the cooler aspects of the Olympic games. It's literally a whole town made for the athletes to reside in. There is everything you need there like a hair salon, shoe shop, gym, and much much more. There are so many aspects that go into making this a real home for the competitors that you need to know. Keep reading to find out just what you've been missing about the Olympic Village.
The Tokyo Olympic village is situated on the Harumi waterfront district. The whole complex consists of 21 separate buildings that can house up to 11,000 athletes. Teams use the opportunity to show their pride for their respective countries by decorating their terraces with flags and signage of their homes.
Just walking through the complex feels like a maze of different represented countries and cultures just waiting to get a chance to shine on the playing field.
The rooms are pretty standard for an Olympic village. Many people have this preconception that it’s going to be super luxurious and like a resort. It changes between different years, but at the end of the day, they are just apartments after all and will be repurposed for use by the public.
As standard as they are, however, they still have their roots in Japanese architecture and thus have many sliding doors and dedicated rooms for an assortment of activities.
Nobody knew what to expect upon entering the rooms. Granted, it was obviously going to be nicely decorated and furnished as this is where all the top athletes are going to stay. That being said, no one expected to be given a bed made out of cardboard to sleep on.
Despite the cheap feel it brings, they are highly recyclable and will avoid any unnecessary waste when the owners of the buildings inevitably throw them away for later use by renters.
Repurposing The Buildings
In keeping with a highly sustainable theme, the apartments that were built for the Olympic village will become available to citizens for rent. In fact, they’ve already begun to deal out the properties.
As we said before, the beds are made of cardboard, so they are easily recycled by the clean-up crew. Everything was built keeping in mind the demand for recycling products and keeping the environment as healthy as possible. We need to start somewhere, don’t we?
Because the village is situated on the Harumi waterfront, there is an incredible view available to all those who live there (though each individual view will obviously be determined by which building and room you’re staying in).
Either way, you’ll be treated to the city skyline as well as the beautiful nature and river in the area. It truly is a remarkable place to be, even if it isn’t as luxurious as people think it would be.
We’re living in a day and age where we seriously have to think about how sanitized everything is and how we’re going to continue living in a world that’s ravaged by the pandemic. So it’s no surprise that they take every precaution necessary to keep everyone safe.
There are hand sanitizer stands everywhere you go. As well as this, daily Covid tests are provided to help track and mitigate the spread of the disease.
Because there are so many athletes at the Olympic games, there needs to be a dining hall capable of accommodating the large demand. There are tens of thousands of people competing in the Olympics, and as such, there needs to be a large space for them to eat.
On a daily basis, there can be upwards of 48,000 meals being served throughout the day. Moreover, due to the different schedules of the athletes, many of the food services need to be open for most of the day to accommodate them.
The athletes can expect to be treated to a variety of different food options. In fact, there are supposed to be around seven hundred menu items to select from. That's a crazy amount of variety!
These foods are categorized as Japanese, Western, and Asian and are supposed to feature “plenty of local flavor”. Anything from pizza to sushi is available and, of course, there are also plenty of vegetarian options available for those with dietary restrictions.
Covid Precautions In The Dining Hall
Just as with everything else, there are many precautions that go into making sure everything is safe and clean within the dining hall. Only the cooks and servers are allowed to handle the food and there won’t be any buffet-style options available.
Also, everybody has their own tray and the tables are separated with plexiglass barriers. There is also an “anti-virus film” lining the handles of the soft drink fridges in order to avoid any contamination from surfaces.
Laundry services are essential, especially in a sports competition with tens of thousands of people. Mistakes are bound to happen though, as there are way too many people and clothes getting cleaned every day.
Olympian Cody Melphy says that it’s easy to get your laundry mixed up amongst the massive piles of clothes around and you need to just take everything and wash it yourself.
Free Vending Machines
One of the luxuries that are afforded to the athletes is vending machines that give out free drinks. Yes, you heard that right. Sports are hard work and in order to stay hydrated, the machines are specially made for the players.
They are given electronic keychains that when swiped over the reader provide the consumer with the credit they need to purchase a drink. Now if only we were able to have a similar system our lives would be complete.
As well as everything else, the athletes are provided transportation to and from the stadium. This is obviously a given, but it's always nice to know the amenities they are provided. They get to ride big coach buses to the stadium.
Their seats lined with fabric are extra comfortable and provide a nice traveling experience. They also have huge storage spaces at the bottom of the bus to hold all of the gear and bags that all the competitors might need to bring with them.
As well as the buses to and from the stadium, the Olympic athletes also need a way to get around the village itself. That’s where autonomous buses come in real handy.
There are many stops around the campus for the bus to come to pick you up and drop you off. It comes and goes by itself with only a driver there to make sure that everything goes smoothly. They control it with some sort of tablet and a joystick.
Not only are there self-driving busses, there are also a bunch of bicycles to get around for those who are really motivated (and being an Olympic athlete, you probably will be).
If you want to go for a nice bike ride or need to get somewhere, you can use these whenever you need. We’re wondering if they’re going to keep the same modes of transportation available after the complex becomes available to the public.
Something that you might not automatically think about is the need for security at the games. After all, we live in some chaotic times these days and the pandemic is, unfortunately, not the only thing we need to be concerned about.
There are multiple security checkpoints throughout the stadium and the athletes are checked by officers and with metal detectors every day. It would be a disaster to have something happen at the Olympic games, so security is key.
They have touchscreen billboards all over the place to help you get all the information you need. From game times to event schedules, they have anything you might need to know on the fly.
They even have this amazing feature that allows you to check the approximate crowd density so that you can decide where not to be in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. They really thought of everything!
In addition to the many facilities on-site, there are also a number of personalized rooms available for the different teams to hang out in. There's something for every country!
They are all tailored to match your home country's theme. That way you can always show your spirit no matter what you're doing. The rooms obviously also come with TVs to enjoy the Olympic games.
Of course, there was always going to be something to accommodate for the Coronavirus concerns. While it's unprecedented, it was also necessary to create what they called the "fever clinic"
The clinic was formed to create rooms for isolation and a facility to conduct PCR tests to control and prevent the spread of the disease. As unfortunate as it is, we are also fortunate to have the capability to do these things.
Many of the happenings at the Olympic Villages are post-win celebrations for the teams. After they get back they pop the champagne bottles and party like they... well, like they just won an Olympic medal.
When speaking to Delish, Alise Willoughby explained "There are usually plenty of options available for celebrations at the team houses that are definitely taken advantage of. When it's a time for a celebratory toast, you go with it! And in Rio, well ... One caipirinha, two caipirinha, three caipirinha, floor."
Abandoners Of The Village
Before the games even started, it was already decided by the USA gymnastics team that they would forego the use of the Olympic Village housing. They opted instead to rent hotel rooms to avoid any Covid-19 exposure.
This was probably a result of the team's alternative, Kara Eaker, testing positive for the virus at the Narita, Japan Olympic training camp despite having been vaccinated. It's better to be safe than sorry, they say.
There are twenty-one total residential buildings in the Olympic Village. They are all between fourteen to eighteen floors tall with around 3600 rooms available and a grand total of 18,000 beds.
The rooms themselves are about 1,200 square feet, so they are the size of a pretty average family apartment (maybe a bit bigger). They're meant to house at least 11,000 athletes and will be repurposed for renting or selling.
Variation In The Village
Not every Olympic Village is created equally. Whether it’s the resources available, the location it’s built on, or the cultural nuances that affect the way they build the facility, everything is going to be varied between villages.
For example—and this one is pretty specific to the current climate—the Tokyo Olympic village comes with a “fever clinic” due to the pandemic. So if you have the opportunity to see it for yourself, be sure to take it all in because it’s all a unique experience from one year to the next.
The Olympic Village provides some amazing opportunities for athletes to meet their competitors and others in general. It’s one of the best places for them to come together and socialize with each other.
Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin shared with People Magazine that her favorite place to be is the cafeteria as she can spend time people watching and playing a fun game that involves trying to guess what sport the athletes are competing in based on looks alone.
Amongst the other things the athletes are privy to, there is also a recreational room for their leisure. There are arcade games, ping pongs tables, and many other activities for everyone to enjoy.
This is one of the better places for the athletes to come and enjoy with each other and socialize to their heart’s content. And if you’re competing in table tennis, then this can be the ultimate pre-game battleground for you.
As amazing as the Olympic Village seems, you have to remember that the people there are competing in some of the hardest competitions of their lives. The whole complex is basically filled with people who are anxious and stressed all the time.
Natalie Coughlin said to People, “[The Olympic Village] is like a giant college campus — except that everyone is getting ready for the biggest event of their life so they're incredibly stressed”. We couldn’t imagine it being any different.
Bidets In Every Toilet
If you’re American or from a country where this isn’t common, you might not expect all of the toilets to come pre-installed with bidets. Well, in Tokyo they are and they’re fully adjustable.
Gone are the days where you must dirty your hands cleaning yourself up. It’s all about the gentle stream washing away all of your troubles. That is, of course, until you come back home. At that point you’re just stuck with toilet paper.
If you were wondering about some of the more obscure facts from the Olympic village, maybe you’d be happy to learn about the underground tunnel system they built below the complex.
These tunnels connect all of the residential buildings together. It doesn’t seem like they are in use for anything currently, but they do make for a great spooky setting if you want to test your nerves a little bit. They would also make for a really cool block party setting.
Everyone needs a break between games and workouts, so what better place to go than your very own recovery center? In between matches, this is the perfect spot to rest and stretch out those overworked muscles.
They even have a staff member there to help all of the athletes with their recovery period. It’s almost like a personal spa except for after a really intense workout. Well, maybe not quite that relaxing.
There are plenty of things athletes can do to stay on top of their game while they haul out at the village. Of course, there are gym services available as well as the many other amenities provided.
A gym is one of the most necessary things in a competition like this. People need a place to keep their muscles ready and healthy for their next match. And we’re sure everyone there really appreciates having a gym around.
Track Around The Village
Surely you can’t expect all of the runners to wile away their time at the gym stuck inside on a treadmill. Of course, not! That’s why they installed a perfectly good outdoor track for anyone wanting a more scenic route.
The track stretches around the whole compound so you know you’ll get a good bit of exercise from completing the whole thing. We’re happy to see that they’ve accommodated for just about everything you can think of.
Small Fields For Practice
If all of that wasn’t enough, how about the mini fields all around the village ground where you can practice pretty much anything you do? Whether you need to work on your soccer ball dribble or you want a bit of a natural surface to work out on, your bases are covered.
These grassy fields are also a generally great spot for you to relax and soak up some sun or show off your awesome Olympic skills. So get up, get out there, and show everyone what you can do!
TVs To Watch The Games
If you are at the Olympics, we have no doubt that you’d also want to watch the other competitions going on. Luckily, you don’t have to use your data or find an internet connection to get access.
All around the Olympic Village are television sets all tuned to provide footage of the games throughout the two weeks that they occur. So if you’re looking for something to do in your spare time, why not pop a squat and enjoy yourself some of the other cool Olympic sports?
If you’re looking for a little pick me up, there’s a store available in the Olympic Village as well. They have everything you might need during your stay, from deodorant to snacks and even some souvenirs to bring back home with you.
This is one of the little things that’s so nice to have around. Although you would be pretty busy preparing for your competition, it’s nice to have somewhere you can go for a little bit of a shopping spree escape.
If you’re the type of person who likes to collect memorabilia from the places you go, then you’re in luck! There are plenty of options to choose from all around the village.
Specifically, you can find a whole collection of pins to choose from themed around the Olympics and Tokyo. We’d urge some caution, however; many of the pins are super cool and there are so many to choose from that it would be hard to only get one.
If you were hoping to find some other collectibles, then the post office is where you need to go. They have a whole bunch of different postcards for you to choose from other than their obvious other uses as a postal service.
Since they’re a real working post office, you can even write a postcard or other letter directly to your family or loved ones. This is something sur to excite those watching you from afar. We can’t imagine receiving a postcard directly from the Olympics themselves.
Not only do you have to stay on top of your game at the Olympics, you also need to stay on top of your hair game. There is a convenient little hair salon perfect for those seeking a new do.
To be fair, we’re not sure why anyone would come to the Olympics without having gotten a haircut prior to the event, but it’s nice to know that you can get a touch up or just get it freshly done while you’re there.
One of the cool features of the Olympic Village is the flag boulevard. This is a long stretch of road with every country's flag set up along the length of it. It's one of the few places where you can see every flag together!
It also feels like the only place where everyone can come together without prejudice or conviction. Obviously, that's too good to be true, but we can dream can't we?
The Cost Of This Project Can Put Cities Into Debt
This isn't just some easy project we've been talking about here. It's not like the International Olympics Committee pays for these villages to be built. The city hosting the Olympics has to pay for everything. And it costs billions.
That's why it's typically decided seven years prior to the actual date of the Olympics. That way they have enough time to figure out funds. The Rio Olympic Village cost around $13.1 billion and less than ten percent of the apartments were able to get sold.