COVID-19 derailed the 2020 Summer Tokyo Olympics, causing the games to be moved to 2021. There are still issues throughout the nation with COVID-19, which has caused fans to be banned from the games. Originally, fans were going to be able to attend, but this was nixed recently.
It will not be surprising to see athletes contract COVID-19 during the games because of the close proximity to people from other countries. A vaccine does not mean that you cannot get COVID-19, and all athletes are undergoing frequent testing. This means the virus will be highlighted in Tokyo.
The United States women’s gymnastics team, which is favored to win the gold medal, may have some athletes unavailable for the games because an alternate recently contracted the virus. The squad was stationed at an Olympic training camp in Japan to prepare for the contests when the positive test was discovered.
Details of the Positive COVID-19 Test
The United States Olympic team announced the positive test on Sunday, July 18. The athlete has not been publicly named, but she was a replacement for the artistic gymnastics team. The International Olympic Committee established COVID-19 rules before the games to prepare for this inevitable situation.
The replacement athlete and an additional replacement gymnast will have to quarantine for an extended period. They will also have to yield multiple negative tests in the coming weeks to be allowed in the Olympics.
Since they are alternates, this is not devastating for the United States. Nevertheless, COVID-19 has been shown to linger, so it would not be surprising to see more athletes contract the virus.
On Monday, the gymnasts were moved to a new training facility as they continue to prepare. They will receive COVID-19 tests to ensure that they do not have the virus. The Olympic Committee is not messing around when it comes to COVID-19, so this event could cause more restrictions in Tokyo.
This is the first positive test amongst American athletes, but it’s not unique to Olympic athletes throughout the world.
Statement from the United States regarding the Olympics
The United States released a statement after the unnamed gymnast tested positive for COVID-19.
The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee stated, “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. 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.”
The four alternates on the Olympic team are Leanne Wong, Kayla DiCello, Emma Malabuyo, and Kara Eaker. These women traveled to Japan with Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee, MyKayla Skinner, and Jade Carey, who are the competitors.
Biles is the headliner of the group, who shined in the 2016 Rio Games. She won four gold medals, three of which were individual. The gymnast also took home bronze in the balance beam event.
Luckily for the United States, Biles was not infected. She is nearly a lock to win gold in Tokyo.