First Athletes Test Positive in Olympic Village

As teams arrive in Tokyo, so does worrisome heat
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2021 11:00 AM CDT
First Athletes Test Positive in Olympic Village
Olympic Village in Tokyo on Sunday. More than 11,000 athletes will live there during the Games.   (Kyodo News via AP)

Olympic Village in Tokyo has its first positive coronavirus tests among the athletes staying there—two members of South Africa's soccer team. The team also reported a video analyst in its delegation tested positive, Reuters reports. The South African team, which is to play its first match Thursday against Japan, issued a statement Sunday saying it's quarantined while waiting for more test results, per the AP. A layered testing system is being used that is intended to find infections quickly; backers say the rising number of positive tests shows the system is working. The Games officially open Friday. Thousands of athletes and employees are pouring into Tokyo before that, per the Washington Post. More than 11,000 athletes, plus support personnel, will be staying at the Olympic Village on Tokyo Bay. So far this month, officials have reported 55 positive tests among people connected to the Games.

Organizers pointed out another concern at a press conference Sunday, putting up a slide announcing, "The rainy season is over in Tokyo, and the hot summer has come!" Temperatures in the area were over 90 degrees Sunday, and humidity was high, per the Post. Rain, sometimes heavy, is forecast during competitions. Fields will have shade tents, portable air conditioners, ice baths, and mist fans. Relevant venues will have horse cooling stations. Some athletes will wear ice packs in vests. "The goal is to keep your core body temperature as cold and cool as possible to the start of the race," said US runner Rachel Schneider. Delegations are preparing to deal with both issues. "While we have been dealing with COVID matters, we haven't taken our focus off the heat," said the Australian team's chief medical officer. (Read more Tokyo Olympics stories.)

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