Olympians doing the horizonal biathalon

Does having sex before competition help or hinder Olympians’ chances for greatness? Opinions are divided.

There'll be enough free condoms floating around Vancouver and Whistler during the 2010 Olympics to satisfy a red light district. The BC Centre for Disease Control has ordered up to 100,000 condoms for Olympians. That's around 15 condoms per athlete (according to the Vancouver Star). Regular folk won't miss out on the action either: Health promoters from a group called Safe Games 2010 plan to hit the streets dressed like superheroes, handing out over 250,000 kits stuffed with condoms, lube and glow sticks.

Sex and the Olympics may go hand and hand, but is having sex before a competitive sporting event really a good idea?

Scientists are split: Many western scientists believe there's no evidence that sex weakens sports performance. Studies show sex raises athletes' testosterone levels, which some believe improves athletic performance. Cheryl Lycette, a doctor at Be Well Spa in Halifax, says Chinese medicine teaches that "sex, depending on the amount and length of time that it happens for, can drain what is called kidney essence." The kidneys are the body's main source of energy and endurance and this vital energy is mostly lost through fluids. "Best to save it for after the competition to celebrate!"

Another expert of eastern medicine, Fronnie LeRoy of Bedford's Baidu TCM clinic, says sex before competition is OK, provided the man doesn't orgasm: "The act of intercourse itself is very beneficial to athletes as long as there is no release of sperm," she explains. According to LeRoy, when men orgasm they are losing "jing," the vital energy they need to compete, whereas women don't lose "jing" when they orgasm. Having sex without coming may not sound very fun, but LeRoy promises that once men master the art of retention and tantric sex, "it is like having their batteries recharged or receiving an infusion of vital energy."

Dalhousie swim coach David Fry, who's coached Olympians such as Marie Moore and Kiera Aiken, says it depends on the athlete. "If sex is a regular part of the athlete's life, I see no need to change that prior to a major competition," he says. Many athletes endorse "tapering," or reducing physical activity levels before big competitions. Some claim to only have sex days before their competition if they're on the bottom, exerting little or no energy. Luckily for them, it seems there are studies to back up doing whatever sounds most fun pre-Olympics, provided athletes fill their boots with free condoms first.

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