They are the most talented athletes in the world, have perfect bodies, and break world records when they are 15 years old (hello, Katie Ledecky). But sometimes it’s hard to remember that Olympians are just people, too. And that when the tracks, fields, and stadiums close for the night, what you’re left with is a bunch of beautiful and ambitious individuals all living in the same place.
When ESPN asked athletes for the low-down on the Olympic village politics, they fessed up. Julie Foudy, a two-time gold medalist for soccer and current ESPN analyst, likens the after-hours shenanigans to “a frat party with a very nice gene pool.” You’ve got all your types covered. Like short, strong guys? Go for the male gymnasts. Stylish girls in great shape? It’s got to be the soccer players. But does any of this last past the closing ceremonies? Unlikely. As ESPN recounted: “For a few and the most committed, the games continue—all the way home. On a United Airlines flight from Sydney to Los Angeles in 2000, nearly 100 Olympians were among the passengers, causing the flight attendants to begin the flight with a warning: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, anybody who wishes to sleep, trade seats with someone in the front of the plane. Everybody else to the back with the Olympians.’”