Sochi 2014: Love and Sex, Olympic Style

PHOTO: Germanys Maria Hoefl-Riesch kisses her husband and manager Marcus Hoefl after her womens alpine skiing downhill training session at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center, Feb. 6, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
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Throw tension, good-looking bodies and close living quarters all together in a pot of roiling competition and sex is inevitable.

Why should the 2014 Sochi Games be any different from ones that went before? Three thousand athletes from around the world have descended on three Olympic villages, a kind of international zone that includes shops and leisure facilities.

Packed into dormlike rooms, with ample supplies of condoms, courtesy of the International Olympic Committee as part of their HIV/AIDS prevention program, hanky panky is sure to unfold.

"It's like making the ingredients of a huge stew -- a stew of sexual ingredients," said Dr. Judy Kuriansky, a sex therapist and clinical psychologist at Columbia University's Teachers College in New York City. "There is stress, which causes tension, and anxiety and energy, and a massive outpouring of chemicals in the body – adrenaline and endorphins. It's a powerful concoction of chemicals."

"Everyone knows the runner's high," she said. "Olympian athletes certainly have it – it's orgasmic."

Just after the 2012 London Games, reporter Sam Alipour published an expose for ESPN magazine after gathering confessions from 29 Olympians "on record about parties, sex, orgies and some things that would make even Dennis Rodman blush."

Target shooter Josh Lakatos, who won a silver medal in Atlanta, described a bacchanal-like party at an empty lodge at the 2000 Sydney Olympics that lasted for eight days.

"I've never witnessed so much debauchery in my entire life," he told ESPN.

And the athletes are so fit and beautiful.

Skier Julia Mancuso, 29, who won gold in Turino in 2006 and is expected to win in Sochi, just posed for a racy photo shoot for GQ magazine.

Psychologist Kuriansky attended several Games, including Munich in 1972 and Athens in 2004, and toured the Olympic villages.

"You see how isolated the environment is," she said. "They are gated off and you have to have passes to get it. They eat together in large groups. That's why you are psychologically turned to an earlier sense of camp or college. They sleep in these little bunks in suites with common areas. It lends itself to that kind of lifestyle."

And when athletes have trained this long for an event so monumental, narcissism kicks in.

"There is a sense that they are special. They are special," said Kuriansky. "They are the creme de la creme," she added. "They are the selected few, like Hollywood stars and the high school prom queen and the football star. They are adored and admired by the world."

"The excitement is very similar to the high that politicians and rock starts get," said Kuriansky. "Sports stars are the same."

Sometimes romance blossoms. In 1956, American gold-medalist Harold Connolly, a hammer thrower, and discus champion Olga Fikotova fell in love in the Olympic village at the Summer Games in Melbourne, Australia. They married in Prague, but were later divorced.

But Jill Kintner, who won a bronze medal for BMX cycling in Beijing 2008, says the press does these athletes a disservice.

"There are thousands of athletes who compete at the Olympics," said the 32-year-old from Washington state. "Everyone is there to put their best foot forward, but not everyone is going to medal and be super busy. Once the job is done, there are parties and celebrations all over the city hosted by sponsors or whoever to unwind a bit. The stress and pressure of the Olympics is unparalleled, so I think it's normal to want to have some fun after the job is done."

Kuriansky agrees. But when athletes of this caliber have fun at an event this important, they tend not to "think about their conscience."

"Winners or losers, on top of the world or devastated, it tends to make you grab the moment -- carpe diem," she said. "This is your moment."

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