Over 100 COVID-19 cases found among people connected to Tokyo Olympics
As the Tokyo Olympics kick off, over 100 COVID-19 cases have been reported by the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee.
Sandy Hooper, USA TODAY
TOKYO — American pole vaulter and reigning world champion Sam Kendricks will miss the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19, officials confirmed Thursday.
“In alignment with local rules and protocols, he has been transferred to a hotel to be placed in isolation and is being supported by the USATF and USOPC staff,” the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a statement.
“Sam is an incredible and accomplished member of Team USA and his presence will be missed. Out of respect for his privacy, we cannot provide more information at this time.”
Kendricks’ father and longtime coach, Scott Kendricks, wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post that his son “feels fine and has no symptoms.”
The news of Kendricks’ positive test has sent the entire Australian track and field team into lockdown, according to Australian news outlets, because an Australian pole vaulter has been deemed a close contact.
The Sydney Morning Herald is among those reporting that all 63 members of the Australian track and field delegation were told to isolate in their hotel rooms, less than 24 hours before the start of track and field competition Friday at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium.
“Members of Australia’s track and field team at the Tokyo Olympic Games are isolating in their rooms as a precautionary measure following news of a COVID positive finding with a member of the U.S. track and field team,” the Australian Olympic Committee said in a statement provided to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“Members of the Australian track and field team are now undergoing testing procedures in line with Australian Olympic team protocols.”
Spokespeople for the Australian Olympic Committee and Athletics Australia did not immediately reply to messages from USA TODAY Sports seeking comment.
It is unclear whether any U.S. athletes have been identified as close contacts.
“We are following the USOPC and (Tokyo 2020’s) guidance on next steps to ensure the safety of the remainder of our delegation, and to offer support to Sam,” USATF said in a statement.
Kendricks, 28, won bronze in the pole vault at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and was expected to be in the mix for another medal in Tokyo. He is the reigning world champion in the event, though Mondo Duplantis of Sweden has since broken the world record and established himself as the favorite.
Widely known as one of the most gregarious athletes on Team USA, Kendricks has been a staple on the competitive circuit since his days at Ole Miss, where he won a pair of NCAA outdoor national titles in 2013 and 2014. He is also a member of the U.S. Army Reserve.
Kendricks becomes the latest Team USA athlete to be ruled out of the Games due to COVID-19. Beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb was pulled from competition following a positive test after his arrival in Japan, while Kara Eaker — an alternate on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team — also tested positive while in-country. Several other prominent athletes, including tennis player Coco Gauff, did not travel to Tokyo after testing positive for COVID-19 prior to departure.
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