Federer rejects dubious distractions of village life

Tennis' world No 1 opts for a hotel to avoid the starstruck athletes in 'adult Disney World'. By Nick Harris in Beijing

Some athletes are just so annoyingly famous that even their fellow stars cannot stop badgering them for autographs. Such a fate has befallen Roger Federer, and the fact that the world's No 1 tennis player cannot walk peacefully through the Games village means he will be staying in a hotel instead.

At least the Swiss insists the pestering is to blame. "It is impossible really [to stay in the village]" he said. "There are so many athletes asking for photos and so on. It is not ideal to prepare." Federer, who will celebrate his 27th birthday today by carrying Switzerland's flag in the Olympics opening ceremony, may also find the village less attractive these days because he is happily attached to his long-term girlfriend, Mirka Vavrinec.

The village offers its most attractive distractions to those free and single. Where did Roger and Mirka meet, for example? At an Olympic village, in Sydney in 2000. And that village, like so many other temporary hormone-packed homes for super-fit sports people, gained itself a reputation as party central. The athletes collectively drained the locality of all available contraception, prompting the distribution of 130,000 free condoms to athletes in Athens in 2004. That's roughly 13 condoms per athlete during a Games fortnight. Beijing will not be providing any, although individual Olympic Associations, including Australia's, will provide baskets full of them in communal areas.

Sex is not yet an Olympic sport but it certainly seems to be an Olympics village activity. As the 1992 double gold medal-winning American swimmer Nelson Diebel once said, the Games is "a two-week-long private party for thousands of hard bodies".

One village logistics planner says, "It's like an adult Disney World for two weeks." And Breaux Greer, an American javelin thrower participating here has said: "There's a lot of sex going on. You get a lot of people who are in shape, and, you know, testosterone's up and everybody's attracted to everybody." Australia's women's swimming team famously stripped off on the village balcony in 1992 to tease onlookers. Village-plotted shenanigans do not start and end with nudity though.

Another Australian swimmer, Dawn Fraser, stole out of the Tokyo village one night in 1964 and pinched the Emperor of Japan's flag from his palace. She was banned from swimming for 10 years, a punishment later reduced to four. The decision over whether to stay in the village or elsewhere is down to the individual. Most athletes stay there. Megastars like America's NBA basketball giant, Kobe Bryant, will not. But Michael Phelps, who could win eight golds in the pool, will. The US tennis sisters, Venus and Serena Williams, will give the village a miss to prepare away from the hubbub. But Britain's Andy Murray will be one of the village people, as will Spain's Rafael Nadal.

Circumstances rather than taste dictate the accommodation arrangements of other sports people at the Games. Argentina's footballers, including Lionel Messi, have been based away from Beijing because their games are elsewhere.

Most of the British team will be staying in the village. The only Britons who will not be are the equestrian team, in Hong Kong, the sailors, in Qingdao, and the rowers and canoeists, who are staying nearer their competition venue on the outskirts of the capital. There is a no-alcohol policy, however, while gambling is strictly banned and the only DVDs on sale are wholesome family titles. Maybe Federer just fancies a nice glass of wine and a movie that isn't a "12".

News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence