EVERYONE HAS HEARD the rumors about the Olympic village—not the details of the world-class amenities and supercharged meal plans, but the whispers about the trouble athletes get into once they’re off the track and in the sack.
The committee passes out condoms like candy.
The athletes are all sex-crazed maniacs.
The games continue long after the gold medals are handed out.
In 2000, the IOC officials dished out 70,000 condoms. They must have felt the walls shaking harder than expected, because they reportedly ordered 20,000 more after the first week of competition. For the Sochi and London Games, they upped the ante to over 100,000 prophylactics for the 6,000 competitors in attendance. If you do the math, that’s 16 to 17 love gloves per athlete, for an event that lasts less than a month. So, whispers or not, the message rings loud and clear: when the flame is lit, let the games begin.
Kinsley Bryant, my mentor on the women’s soccer team, assured me that all the rumors about the village were true. She’d competed in the last summer games and lived to tell the tale, but this was different. Her first games had been in proper London-town. This time around, we were in sunny Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a city well acquainted with debauchery. The moment we stepped off the plane, I could feel the excitement in the air. Tourists and athletes flooded into customs. The crowds were alive, in a rush, and speaking a million different languages all at once.
Outside the airport, I drew in a heavy breath, trying to make sense of the circus. Street vendors shouted for our attention (“Pretty necklace for a pretty girl!”) and taxi drivers promised low fares (“We take you where you want to go! Cheap! Cheap!”). My first five minutes in the city proved colorful, loud, and intoxicating.
“This way, ladies!” our team manager said, waving her hand in the air to usher us toward a row of waiting shuttles. I hiked my backpack up on my shoulder and dragged my suitcase behind me. I wanted to take my time and soak it all in, but they were already dividing us into groups and shoving us into the shuttles. We were heading toward the Olympic Village and my body hummed with excitement. What would it be like? Would I even be able to walk outside my room without coming face to face with some German rugby player’s überdong? Would they be shooting condoms at us with a t-shirt cannon like at basketball games, or would there be an attendant in each room with a silver tray full of magnums? “Boa tarde, here’s your room key and some lube.”
Surely they’d be more discreet than that.
“If we have to sit for much longer, my legs are going to shrivel up and I won’t be able to compete,” Kinsley said, drawing me out of my obsessive thoughts.
She turned from her perch in the middle row and assessed the three of us crammed into the back of the shuttle. Nina, another rookie, sat beside me, quietly working away on a Sudoku puzzle. Michelle was on the other side of her, checking her phone. So far, they’d both proved to be bumps on a log. I had tried to get them out of their shell during the long flight from L.A., but it was no use.
“I agree,” Becca said, turning around and propping her elbows on the back of her seat. Kinsley and Becca were both veterans on the team, but at that moment they looked like two detectives about to interrogate us. “I think we need something to entertain us until we get to the village.”
Kinsley suggested a round of fuck-marry-kill, but since the other rookies lacked both homicidal and matrimonial tendencies, we ended up just going around the shuttle and choosing which athlete we would have sex with if the opportunity presented itself.
“What about you?” Kinsley asked me, wiggling her brows for emphasis.
I smiled. “Sorry, I don’t have a dick-directory going.” I figured there would be enough good-looking guys roaming the grounds that I wouldn’t have to worry about preparing a hit-it-and-quit-it list beforehand. “Old fashioned, I guess.”
She arched a brow. “Seriously, not one guy comes to mind?”
I shrugged. “I’m sure I’ll find one soon enough.”
“Boo! You suck,” Becca chimed in. “Who’s next?”
“Freddie Archibald!” Michelle exclaimed, finally glancing up from her phone.
“Mmm, Freddie,” Nina agreed, pausing her Sudoku game long enough to stare wistfully out the window.
I scrunched my nose. “Who’s that?”
“He swims for Great Britain,” Michelle explained with a look of horror on her face. Apparently I should have already known who he was. “His full name is Frederick Archibald and he’s like British royalty or something. Total package.”
With a name like that, I pictured a stuffy prince with a royal stick up his ass.
“Okay then, what about you two? Who would you pick?” I asked, turning the tables on Kinsley and Becca.
Kinsley flashed her left hand with the big fat diamond sitting on her ring finger. “Sorry, can’t play if I’ve already won.”
I laughed and rolled my eyes. Kinsley was married to Liam Wilder, a soccer god and an assistant coach for our team. They’d met when Liam started coaching her college soccer team before the last Olympic Games. Becca was also married to a soccer player—one of Liam’s old teammates—and between the four of them, they were quite a photogenic bunch. Every time I checked out at the grocery store, there was a sports magazine with at least one of their faces plastered across the cover. When I’d been called up to the Women’s National Team, they’d enthusiastically adopted me into their fearsome foursome. Moving from Vermont to L.A. had been a rocky transition, especially when paired with Olympic training, but Kinsley and Becca had proven to be the older sisters I’d never had but always wanted.
“So do those rings mean you guys can’t come to a party with me tonight?” I asked with a sly smile.
Kinsley narrowed her eyes. “What are you talking about?”
“The Brazilian swimmers messaged me on Facebook. They’re hosting a themed party and I was planning on going.”
“Count me out,” Nina said. “Jetlag.”
Michelle nodded. “Same here.”
Becca and Kinsley exchanged a worried glance over my party plans, but that wasn’t surprising. Over the last few months, I’d tried to convince them that I was an adult, but they still saw me as the wide-eyed rookie from Vermont.