Towel Folding Gets Competitive at the Housekeeping Olympics

Typically, a hotel staff's job is to operate unseen, anticipating needs and leaving you with a feeling that magical elves have crept in to make your bed and bring you a newspaper. But at the Housekeeping Olympics, held annually at Minnesota's Iron Range, the folks folding your towels and refilling your complimentary bath products are finally getting their moment in the limelight.

Beds were made, toilets were brushed, and showers were scrubbed--all outdoors--at the tenth iteration of the event this week. Competing were employees of Holiday Inn, Super 8, and other familiar hotel brands, for a total of 14 teams going for the gold.

One event, bed-making, had an added twist: competitors were chained together by handcuff as they attempted to put on a fresh set of sheets. "It's really funny," Jim Makowsky, the general manager at Mountain Iron's AmericInn Lodge & Suites who founded the event, told Mesabi Daily News. He added that the day "shows appreciation to housekeepers and the hard work they do."

Elsewhere, teammates stacked (and balanced) mountains of bath towels, sang the National Anthem (a plunger stood in for the Olympic torch), and ran through a slalom course with carts filled with cleaning products.

As for who took home the top prizes? Holiday Inn Express of Mountain Iron landed the gold, AmericInn took the silver, and the Super 8 of Eveleth made a respectable showing for the bronze.

"The weather was perfect," said Makowsky. "The whole event was perfect. Everybody had a great day."

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