Despite the rising cases, team USA's CEO says their athletes are ready to compete.
More than 600 athletes from across the US have flown to Japan to be a part of the Tokyo Olympics, with the opening ceremony scheduled to start on July 23, 2021. Sportspersons from all over the world are set to compete against each other from July 24 through August 8. However, there seems to be a slight dent in the original plan as three people from the US team have reportedly tested positive for the Coronavirus, according to CNN.
Kara Eaker, a member of the US gymnastics team, tested positive for Coronavirus, her father confirmed. Katie Lou Samuelson, a member of the US Olympic 3x3 women's basketball team, also contracted the virus, she announced on her social media. This update comes after tennis star Cori "Coco" Gauff took to Twitter to announce that she has tested positive as well.
Kansas City Olympic gymnast Kara Eaker has tested positive for COVID-19. Her dad tells @KSHB41 Eaker is doing fine and has no symptoms.— Charlie Keegan (@CharlieKeegan41) July 19, 2021
The 18-year-old said in a Zoom press conference after Trials she received the #COVID19 vaccine.
More details: https://t.co/MtNfy7sTKT pic.twitter.com/F5Hz7SaaOM
According to NPR, due to protocols in place, athletes are only allowed to check themselves in to the Olympics village five days before the actual event. When 18-year-old vaccinated Eaker arrived in Japan, she displayed no symptoms, but despite that, multiple tests came back positive. Her father, Mark Eaker, said she will have to remain in isolation for 10 days before being allowed to return to the US.
"I know she's disappointed, but at this point she says she's kind of bored because she's stuck in her room not being able to do anything, can't practice or anything like that. She says she's bored and just looking forward to coming home," Mark Eaker told KMBC. "The biggest disappointment is that this takes her out of it completely." Another alternate in the gymnastics team has also been placed in isolation after close contact.
Meanwhile, basketball player Samuelson said she was "heartbroken" to come down with Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated. "I am devastated to share that after getting sick with COVID-19, I will not be able to go and compete in Tokyo," Samuelson wrote on her Instagram account. "Competing in the Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and I hope that someday soon, I can come back and fulfill that dream."
17-year-old American tennis star Cori "Coco" Gauff will also miss out on this year's Olympics as she's tested positive as well. "It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future," Cori tweeted. "I want to wish TEAM USA best of luck and a safe games for every Olympian and the entire Olympic family."
According to the Tokyo 2020 organizers, there are 61 Covid-19 cases linked to the Olympic Games, and the rising numbers have fueled concerns as to whether the Olympics can be held, safely, amid the ongoing pandemic.
Despite the rising numbers, Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, says the US team is ready to compete. "The resiliency of Team USA has just been extraordinary," she says. "I would tell you unequivocally: Team USA is ready."
Tokyo Olympics organizers reported the first COVID-19 cases among competitors residing in the athletes' village, as its population swells ahead of the start of the Games next week https://t.co/cnr9RGMznB pic.twitter.com/t3JVk7DLc7— Reuters (@Reuters) July 18, 2021
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Takashi Aoyama