First US Athlete Tests Positive in Japan

Kara Eaker is an alternate on the women's gymnastics team
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2021 2:11 PM CDT
First US Athlete Tests Positive in Japan
Kara Eaker competes in the floor exercise during the women's US Olympic Gymnastics Trials in St. Louis, in this Friday, June 25, 2021 photo.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

An alternate on the women's gymnastic team has become the first American athlete to test positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Japan for the Olympics. Officials say 18-year-old Kara Eaker has been transferred to a hotel for quarantine, as has Leanne Wong, an alternate who trains with Eaker and is considered a close contact, NPR reports. Eaker is fully vaccinated and has not been showing any symptoms, her mother says. Coach Al Fong says she will be in quarantine for 10 to 14 days. The four alternates traveled to Japan with the six-woman competitive delegation, but they have been rooming separately, reports the AP.

All members of the regular team, including world champion Simone Biles, have been vaccinated; Wong, 17, said earlier this month that she hadn't been, the New York Times reports. USA Gymnastics said Monday that the competitive athletes have "moved to separate lodging accommodations and a separate training facility, as originally planned." With the opening ceremony in Tokyo just four days away, at least 55 people connected to the Games have tested positive, including around two dozen arrivals from overseas. Two athletes and one official from the South African soccer team tested positive inside the Olympic Village. (Teen tennis phenom Coco Gauff tested positive before departing for Japan.)

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