American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, has rested positive for COVID-19, his father and coach posted on Instagram late Wednesday evening U.S. time. As the two-time defending World Champion, and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, Kendricks is arguably the most significant athlete so far to have tested positive after arriving in Tokyo.
His dad’s post, which has been removed, reads:
“Today in Tokyo, officials informed Sam that his daily test for (COVID-19) was positive. So he is out of the competition. He feels fine and has no symptoms. Love you son. See you soon.”
The USOPC confirmed the news, though.
(1/3) The health and safety of our athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority. We are saddened to confirm that Sam Kendricks tested positive for COVID-19 and will not compete in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
— USOPC News (@USOPC_News) July 29, 2021
Matt Ludwig is the alternate for the event, if he can get to Japan and clear protocols in time.
In addition to testing before and upon arrival in Tokyo, athletes are subjected to daily saliva tests.
There were a run of positive tests in the lead-up to the Olympics as pre-Games and arrival testing was conducted, but that news slowed down in recent days. Swimming escaped largely unscathed at the high ranks, with the exception of Russia’s Ilya Borodin, a World Junior Record holder in the 400 IM, who tested positive before leaving Russia.
But Kendricks’ positive test shows that athletes aren’t out of the woods yet and can’t let their guard down.
Tokyo reported 3,177 new positive cases for COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to the city’s government. That is a new pandemic record. That number included 16 Olympics-related personnel, albeit no athletes.
Since the start of July, at least 169 Olympic-affiliated people have tested positive, including at least 18 athletes.