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Olympians On TikTok Are My New Favorite Reality Stars

I spend 80 percent of my time talking about Olympians on TikTok, and the other 20 percent of it praying for someone else to bring it up so I can talk about it more. The 2020 Olympic Games started in Tokyo on July 23, and since then my FYP has been full of videos about the summer games. Athletes from all over the world are posting behind the scenes of the Olympic Village, from meal times to the lounge areas and, of course, the infamous cardboard beds, giving us a deeper look into their lives than even the Kardashians would dare.

I wasn’t expecting to see Olympians so active on TikTok, but since so many of them are super young it makes sense. The hashtag #TokyoOlympics has 2.9 billion views and counting, so it’s probably an understatement to say we’re all obsessed with them, and the more videos the athletes post, the more I want them to. Am I super into sports? No. Do I still spend most of my free time either watching the Olympics, or watching TikToks about the Olympics? Yes. It’s an obsession that happens once every four years, and it comes along with a brief bout of patriotism and the sudden regret of, ‘Why didn’t I take gymnastics classes more seriously?’.

My Olympian TikTok obsession started when the athletes began posting videos about their cardboard beds. Everyone needed answers: Are the beds made of cardboard to stop the Olympians from having sex? Are they more environmentally friendly? Australian water polo player Tilly Kearns delivered all of the answers, showing how resistant the material is so it won’t break easily, and she even shared that the mattresses can be customized to as hard or soft as they want. There are even bed extenders for taller athletes, so that every player can be comfortable! And, for the answer you’ve been waiting for, Tilly also clarified once and for all that, no – the beds aren’t made of cardboard to stop the horny Olympians.

I feel like a sponge with each new tidbit they reveal, because the beds are far from the only intel they’ve shared. Suddenly, the Olympic Village is my favorite reality show. What are they eating? Kelsey Robinson, a USA volleyball player, shared dinner with her teammates on TikTok and I was riveted. The variety of foods? Unparalleled. The chocolate mousse? She rates it 10/10, and I’m desperate for a bite.

How are they spending their free time? Cody Melphy, a USA Rugby player, showed off the entertainment center, where they get to hang out with athletes from all over the world. When they’re not competing for medals, they’re playing arcade games and watching TV or, like Brazilian street skateboarding silver medallist Rayssa Leal (aka my country’s pride and joy) and Filipina skateboarder Margielyn Didal, they’re taking on TikTok dance trends together.

Nigerian-American basketball player Erica Ogwumike takes us through her day-to-day routines, going to the village shops, the Olympics souvenir store (uh, I need that?!), getting her nails done at the Olympic Village salon, and buying snacks at the convenience store. It’s all so mundane, but watching her in her free time feels like the most exciting episode of anything I’ve ever seen. Can you imagine casually shopping and encountering the world’s top athletes one at a time? Crazy! 

Erik Shoji, a USA volleyball player, asked his teammates about their tattoos on TikTok, and now we not only know how many each player has, but which art piece on their skin is their favorite. Would I’ve searched for this information on my own? Probably not, but the quality of this content I never asked for is *chef’s kiss*. Who knew two weeks ago how intimately familiar we’d be with so many total strangers?

From the outside looking in, the Olympic Village feels like one long, delightful stay at sleepaway camp. I’m not sure if it’s the athletes filming themselves and their teammates in embarrassing situations, thirsting after other players, or jumping into their beds, but if you add a High School Musical track in the background it would be nearly identical to my own vacations past. Joanne Fa’avesi, a USA Rugby player, is the designated hair braider for the team, and they all gossip in their free time. This has sleepover vibes written all over it, and I want to be a part of it as much as I want to watch it all as it happens.  

Scrolling through Olympians on TikTok is so enticing that some people are even paying for Tinder Plus to be able to swipe through the Olympic Village. Some of ya’ll could literally be about to be living my Olympian dreams! If your Olympic Tinder crush works out, you could be the one posting videos about how cool the Olympic Village is in a few years time, and I, for one, can’t wait for summer of 2024’s hit second season.

Carolina Grassmann is an Editorial Intern at HerCampus.com, and the Editor-In-Chief and Events Director of Her Campus Cásper Líbero. She's majoring in journalism, and has been involved with HC since her first year of college, as a writer and reporter. When she's not writing, she's most likely listening to Taylor Swift's songs over and over again.
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