It was inevitable that there would be some positive COVID cases among the U.S. Olympians, but it was hard to anticipate that athletes would be impacted this early. The most high-profile tennis player on the U.S. team, Coco Gauff, has announced she has COVID and will miss the games. She got her positive diagnosis before departing for Tokyo.
— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) July 18, 2021
NPR points out, “Gauff did not state whether she has been vaccinated. It’s possible but less likely for vaccinated people to test positive for the coronavirus.”
Katie Lou Samuelson, a member of the WNBA who is vaccinated, announced today that she wouldn’t be able to take part in the games either. On Instragram she wrote:
“I am devastated to share that after getting sick with COVID-19, I will not be able to go and compete in Tokyo. Competing in the Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and I hope someday soon I can come back to realize that dream. I am especially heartbroken as I am fully vaccinated and took every precaution, but I know everything will work itself out in the way it’s supposed to.”
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee also announced Monday that an alternate on the women’s gymnastics team received a positive test while a training camp in Japan and is in quarantine. That gymnast was identified as Kara Eaker.
Kara Eaker's father says she was fully vaccinated, not showing any symptoms.
US gymnastics said replacement athletes trained/roomed separately from competitors.
Growing list of athletes whose Olympic dreams are being dashed because of #covid19 @VictorBlackwell @AlisynCamerota pic.twitter.com/W0nk96Gd99
— Selina Wang (@selinawangtv) July 19, 2021
There is no word on whether Simone Biles or other gymnasts were in contact with Eaker. ESPN reports:
The positive test was the latest in a growing line of daily reports of athletes and others testing positive at the pandemic-delayed Olympics. The unnamed gymnast was the first American to have tested positive after arriving in Japan.
“The health and safety of our athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority. We can confirm that an alternate on the women’s artistic gymnastics team tested positive for COVID-19,” the USOPC statement said. “In alignment with local rules and protocols, the athlete has been transferred to a hotel to quarantine. Out of respect for the individual’s privacy, we cannot provide more information at this time.”
These cases came after news spread regarding several cases connected to the Olympics. According to The New York Times, “Organizers reported more than two dozen positive coronavirus tests this weekend among people who have traveled to Japan for the event, including the first cases inside the athletes’ village.”
On Saturday, officials reported the first positive test — for an organizer — inside the village, where thousands of people will be staying. On Sunday, they reported that two athletes had tested positive inside the village. A third athlete tested positive while in quarantine. Other cases were reported outside the village this weekend, involving officials, contractors and members of the news media.
The three people who tested covid positive inside the Olympic Village had "close contact" with 21 people, per daily Olympic covid update. Three more Olympics-related people have tested positive for a total of 58, including a journalist. https://t.co/31Vc9ZYDr1
— Michelle Ye Hee Lee (@myhlee) July 19, 2021
Vaccines were not required for the athletes. Swimmer Michael Andrew, a gold medal favorite admitted he didn’t get vaccinated. During a TV interview last week the 22-year-old said he was willing to take the risk, “Obviously, there’s fear involved and there’s nerves behind the decision.”
Watch more from ABC News above.