How One Olympian Used A Condom To MacGyver Her Way To A Gold Medal

tokyo olympics jess fox canoeing gold medal screenshot

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics may have been delayed until 2021 with far fewer spectators attending in person than are usually present at Olympic Games, but that hasn't stopped the best of the best athletes from heading to Japan to fight for a spot on the medal podium. For Australian canoeing Olympian Jess Fox, that fight involved MacGyvering her way to a medal with none other than a condom. And based on the gold medal she gets to take home, it worked!

Jess Fox has won two Olympic medals at the 2020 Olympics: a gold in the women's C1 canoe slalom and a bronze in the canoe slalom K1 final, but she ran into a problem before she earned her way onto the champions' podium. Shortly before the Olympics began, she shared a video on TikTok of how she repaired a kayak by using a condom, and her gold medal win on July 29 proved that she let nothing shake her from dominating the competition, even a hole in a kayak before the event actually began. Take a look at her fix:

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Consider me one of probably many people who truly did have no idea that condoms could be used for kayak repairs! Of course, it wasn't simply a matter of using only the condom for the repair, as a carbon mixture was applied to the front of the kayak before using the condom to seal the mixture in and give a "smooth finish" since it's "very stretchy" and "much strong" even for a purpose for which it was definitely not designed!

And fortunately for Jess Fox and the hole in hey kayak, condoms were definitely not in short supply for the Olympians in Tokyo in case of emergency. NPR reports that, as has occurred for every Games since the 1980s, organizers in Japan ordered 160,000 condoms for athletes staying in the Olympic Village. Considering the precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the organizers don't actually want the athletes to do anything that would require a condom and instead take them home as souvenirs and use them to raise awareness.

So, assuming the athletes are following the rules, there are probably a lot of condoms to be had in Olympic Village with not a whole lot to do with them to discourage any MacGyvering. In fact, athletes face penalties for violating pandemic precautions set for the Games, with bans on handshakes, high-fives, and physical close contact, with violators facing everything from fines to disqualification to even the loss of Olympic medals, depending on whether or not the rule-breaker has already done so before.

With regions of Japan under a state of emergency due to COVID (and some athletes actually dropped out of participation because of the pandemic), condoms as souvenirs (and tools for kayak repairs) isn't as silly a concept as it might have seemed just a couple of years ago. Fortunately, athletes like Jess Fox have still managed to turn in some epic performances in their chosen sports at the Olympics this year, with the lucky few in each event earning a medal to take back to their country.

The Olympics aren't over yet, with more events taking place in Tokyo all the way through to August 8, so be sure to tune in on NBC if you want to see which country will take home more medals and which athletes particularly shine. Tonga's shirtless flag bearer probably would have won a medal for causing a sensation in the opening ceremony, if that qualified as an official Olympics competition! The fall TV season is fast-approaching once the Olympics come to an end, so be sure to check out our 2021 fall schedule for some upcoming viewing options.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.