Two-Time World Champion Pole Vaulter Sam Kendricks Out of Olympics with COVID

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.

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.

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1 month ago

Boom shackalacka! Who knew this guy even pole vaulted!

1 month ago

The comments that are about to drop on this is the content I come for!! Boomshackalacka!!!

1 month ago

Gutted for Sam

1 month ago

I would not use the medal counts of this Olympics to judge how successful countries are. Too many big names are not at their best. In this case, Kendrick can’t even compete. all in all the mental state of the pandemic is playing a big part in this game.

1 month ago

Apparently the whole Australian athletics team has now been isolated coz of him training with an Aussie pole vaulter

You Don’t Say
1 month ago

I thought there was no pole vaulting allowed in the village;-)

Reply to  You Don’t Say
1 month ago

Ba-dum-cschee (rim shot).

1 month ago

Heartbreaking. He is such a class act.

1 month ago

Did he get the vaccine before going?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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