An Olympic gymnastics alternate from the United States tested positive for COVID-19 on July 18, according to a statement sent to Associated Press from USA Gymnastics (USAG). “After reviewing the implemented COVID protocols with the delegation members, the local government decided that the affected indemnity athlete and another indemnity athlete would be subject to additional quarantine restrictions,” the USAG statement said. This is the first known American athlete to test positive in Japan.
While the USAG and the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) did not release the name of the gymnast, alternate Kara Eaker’s coach Al Fong confirmed that she was the alternate affected, as did her father. According to KSHB 41 News, Eaker had been vaccinated and had no symptoms. The other gymnast quarantine is alternate Leanne Wong after being declared a close contact, USA today confirmed. She posted a message on her Instagram reading, “prayers for a speedy recovery for one of our teammates.” Wong and Eaker both come from GAGE Gymnastics in Missouri. Wong’s parents confirmed that she has tested negative, reports KSHB 41 News.
The four deputies – Eaker, Wong, Kayla DiCello and Emma Malabuyo – traveled to Japan with the four-person American Olympic gymnastics team Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles and Grace McCallum as well as the two American people, Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner. During training in Inzai, Japan, they trained alternates in the same facility as, but in, a different group than the six athletes who were to compete on July 25 in the qualifying round.
Apart from the two alternates under quarantine, the members who train to compete have been separated. “Accordingly, the Olympic athletes moved to separate accommodation and a separate training facility on Monday, as originally planned, and will continue their preparation for the Games,” the USAG statement said. “The entire delegation remains vigilant and will maintain strict protocols while in Tokyo.”
According to Associated Press, the four members of the American Olympic gymnastics team and the two people have all been vaccinated. When POPSUGAR reached out to USAG to confirm Eaker’s positive COVID test, the national governing body did not comment and we received the same aforementioned statement. However, a spokesman further confirmed that the Olympic athletes are now separated from the deputies, “as originally planned”, and since the positive test, the Olympic athletes and coaches have their own rooms in a new hotel. We have also reached out to USOPC and have not received any response.
Since July 1, 58 people associated with the Tokyo Games have tested positive for COVID-19, USA today reports. This includes at least three athletes residing in the Olympic village, two of whom are on the men’s soccer team from South Africa along with a Czech beach volleyball player. American tennis player Coco Gauff tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend and is not traveling to Tokyo.