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October 21, 2021
US gymnast Kara Eaker and basketball player Katie Lou Samuelson test positive for Covid-19 ahead of Olympics

US gymnast Kara Eaker and basketball player Katie Lou Samuelson test positive for Covid-19 ahead of Olympics

Kara Eaker, a member of the US gymnastics team, tested positive Sunday, her father confirmed to CNN affiliate KMBC by telephone on Monday morning.

And Katie Lou Samuelson, a member of the US Olympic 3×3 women’s basketball team, announced on Instagram that she will not be able to compete in the Games after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

In addition, Zach LaVine of the US Olympic men’s basketball squad will not travel with the team to Japan on Monday as planned because of health and safety protocols, USA Basketball announced. No other details were released, but USA Basketball said it was hopeful LaVine will be able to join the team later this week.

The incidents represent the broader challenges in holding the Olympics in the midst of a pandemic. The Olympics’ opening ceremony is Friday and the gymnastics competition is scheduled for Saturday through August 3.

Eaker, an 18-year-old alternate member of the gymnastics team, recently arrived in Japan for the Games.

Despite displaying no symptoms and being vaccinated, Eaker had multiple tests come back positive after she arrived in Japan, her father, Mark Eaker, said.

Athletes could face the warmest Olympic Games in decades

He said she will have to isolate in a hotel for 10 days before being allowed to return to the United States.

“I know she’s disappointed, but at this point she says she’s kind of bored because she’s stuck in her room not being able to do anything, can’t practice or anything like that. She says she’s bored and just looking forward to coming home,” Mark Eaker told KMBC. “The biggest disappointment is that this takes her out of it completely.”

A second alternate on the gymnastics team is also in isolation after having had close contact, USA Gymnastics said in a statement. USA Gymnastics did not identify her but her club coach said it was Leanne Wong.

Coach Al Fong says Wong, 17, has not been vaccinated. Wong also feels fine and has no symptoms, Fong said.

Eaker and Wong both train with Fong at Gage Gymnastics in the Kansas City, Missouri area, according to KMBC.

USA Gymnastics said its Olympic athletes were moved to separate lodging accommodations and a separate training facility on Monday, as originally planned, where they will continue preparations for competition.

Basketball player was also fully vaccinated

Katie Lou Samuelson, left, and Kara Eaker, both tested positive for Covid-19 days before the start of the Olympics.

Samuelson said she was “heartbroken” to come down with Covid-19 because she was fully vaccinated.

“I am devastated to share that after getting sick with COVID-19, I will not be able to go and compete in Tokyo,” Samuelson wrote on her Instagram account.

“Competing in the Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl and I hope that someday soon, I can come back and fulfill that dream.”

Samuelson, 24, who plays professionally with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, has had her roster spot filled by Jackie Young.

USA Basketball tweeted, “Our hearts are broken for Lou. We thank her for her endless commitment to building up USA Basketball 3×3 & we will miss her dearly in Tokyo.”

Tokyo 2020 reported Monday that there are 61 Covid-19 cases linked to the Olympic Games.
An unidentified overseas visitor tested positive for Covid-19 at the Tokyo athletes’ village, organizers said on Saturday — the first such case amid concerns the Games could become a superspreader event.

Coco Gauff tested positive last week

Cori 'Coco' Gauff will miss the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for Covid-19
American tennis star Coco Gauff said last week on Twitter that she had tested positive for Covid-19 and was pulling out of the Olympics.

NBA star Bradley Beal was placed in USA Basketball’s health and safety protocols and also pulled out.

Athletes are just starting to arrive for the Games, which run through August 8.

About 11,000 athletes from around the world will stay in 21 residential buildings of the Olympic Village.

The rising number of Covid-19 cases tied to the competition has fueled concerns as to whether the Olympics can be safely held during the ongoing pandemic.

Japan grappled with a second wave of infections in the spring, with numbers peaking in April and May with close to 6,000 newly recorded cases per day. Cases began falling in June, but have risen again in recent weeks.

Organizers announced this month that the Tokyo venues will not have spectators because of the city’s coronavirus state of emergency — an unprecedented move, according to an International Olympic Committee spokesman.

USA Gymnastics outlines Covid protocols

On June 27, USA Gymnastics announced its women’s artistic gymnastics team roster and included Eaker, Wong, Kayla DiCello and Emma Malabuyo as the replacement athletes.

USA Gymnastics provided background information on the protocols the women’s gymnastics team had been observing. Among the protocols:

• Japanese Covid-19 chaperones oversaw the delegation’s movements at the training facility and hotel.

• The delegation was not allowed outside the hotel grounds and was kept away from hotel guests via different pathways through the hotel.

• The delegation had designated restrooms not used by anyone else in the training facility.

• Since the positive test, all US Olympic athletes and coaches now have their own hotel rooms. Previously, replacement athletes were rooming with other replacement athletes, and competitors were sharing rooms with competitors.

• Dining has been in a private dining room, with everyone seated 6 feet apart, facing the same direction. Team athletes and coaches sat on one side of the dining room while replacement athletes and coaches sat on the other. These protocols will continue for Games athletes in Tokyo, but remaining replacement athletes will eat in separate rooms.

• Covid-19 saliva tests are collected every morning from all delegation members. Health assessments are completed by all delegation members each morning. Temperatures are taken and recorded every morning.

CNN’s Ralph Ellis, Jill Martin and David Close contributed to this report.