Olympic athletes are using TikTok to give a behind-the-scenes look at the Games

Wanna see just how much weight those cardboard beds can handle? Or what's for dinner at the 24/7 dining hall? You've come to the right place.

Abrar Al-Heeti Video producer / CNET
Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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Abrar Al-Heeti
3 min read
Screenshots from athletes on Tiktok in the Olympic Village

You won't see this on TV.

Screenshot by Abrar Al-Heeti/CNET

The Olympics are in full swing, and though there's a variety of ways to watch the Games in Tokyo, there's one place where you'll catch some epic behind-the-scenes clips from athletes: TikTok. 

Many Olympians have been using TikTok to share a peek at the Olympic Village, to the enjoyment of millions of viewers. 

"If someone had told me 4 years ago that I would get most insider info from the Olympics on a quasi-Vine-reboot app I wouldn't have believed them," one commenter wrote, referring to the now defunct microvideo platform Vine.

"Athletes getting TikToks was the best thing to happen to me this year," someone else commented.

For starters, American rugby player Cody Melphy shared a clip of "Things that just make sense in the Olympic Village," including separate housing for athletes from different countries, a 24/7 dining hall, laundry service, a free Coca-Cola machine and autonomous cars to get around the village.

Melphy posted a follow-up video of the kinds of food available in the Olympic Village, including pizza, pasta, Japanese food and a salad bar.

There are, of course, plenty of jokes about the cardboard beds, which have caused quite a stir. 

American volleyball player Erik Shoji confirmed the bed frames are made of cardboard, before offering a demonstration of their sturdiness


Reply to @hesitantlocal beds are Taylor thief in the night approved #olympics #tokyo2020 #tokyo2021 @taylorsander3

♬ original sound - Erik Shoji

"Tell me you're in the Olympic Village without telling me you're in the Olympic Village, The New Zealand Team TikTok account posted, along with a video of the edge of a bed sinking under someone's weight.

American rugby player Ilona Maher posted a video of various athletes testing how much the beds can handle (surprisingly, a lot).

"I love how all the best athletes in the world are in one place and the first thing they all try to do is break the bed," one comment on the video reads.

New Zealand swimmer Lewis Clareburt showed the various layers that make up the beds


@aligalyer did sleep last night because her bed was in 3 different parts 😂 #olympics #tokyo #tokyoolympics #nz

♬ original sound - Lewis Clareburt ⚡️

The official Olympics account has also gotten in on the fun, posting a meme captioned, "Us trying to explain that the beds are made of cardboard because it's more sustainable and not for any other reason," along with audio of someone speaking gibberish. 

American swimmer Drew Kibler posted a satirical "what to wear on your first day of school" video, in which he tries on a variety of his Olympics swag. 

American volleyball player Kelsey Robinson shared a look at a free nail salon, a florist and a massage relaxation center.

Robinson also filmed the team's arrival to Tokyo, as well as posting behind-the-scenes footage of the opening ceremonies. 

As cool as all the footage is, it's quite surprising to see this unfiltered side of some of the world's best athletes -- and to see just how hooked on TikTok they are, too.  

"What exactly is going on in the Olympic Village? Because I thought you were all meant to be superstar athletes -- very focused, always thinking about their sport," TikTok user angiepangie98 says in a video. "The Australians are playing cricket, the New Zealanders are breaking the beds and I don't know what the Americans are doing, but they're all on TikTok. This is messing with my sense of reality." 

Olympians: They're just like us.

See also: Tokyo Olympics memes: Coaches gone wild and skateboarders in agony