Five U.S. athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, crushing their dreams of competing in the world’s largest sporting event.
U.S. men’s basketball player Bradley Beal tested positive July 15, which made him unable to travel to Tokyo, the USA team announced in a tweet.
U.S women’s tennis star Coco Gauff announced on Twitter that she tested positive for COVID-19 on July 18. Gauff, 17, received her positive test in Tokyo, and has been barred from competing in the Summer Games, she said.
Kara Eaker, an alternate on the U.S. women’s gymnastic team, tested positive for COVID-19 last Monday while training in Japan, The Associated Press reported. Eaker had received the coronavirus vaccine in May, and no other team members have yet to test positive, AP reported.
Katie Lou Samuelson, a fully vaccinated member of the 3×3 women’s basketball team, also tested positive last Monday, making her unable to compete in the games, she said on Instagram.
U.S. men’s beach volleyball member Taylor Crabb tested positive for COVID-19 upon his arrival to Japan last Tuesday, barring him from competing, he said in an Instagram post.
Athletes and teams are not disqualified from their events, nor do they receive a penalty or point reduction after testing positive for the coronavirus, but instead are given “Did Not Start” status, according to Olympic rules.
The positive tests were reported at least one week before the opening ceremony, as coronavirus cases continue to surge in Japan, AP reported.
Tokyo reported another six-month high Wednesday with 1,832 new cases recorded, according to AP.
Frustrations over hosting the Olympics during a state of emergency are growing, as a crowd marched through the Tokyo streets Friday protesting the Games, reporter Michelle Ye Hee Lee said in a tweet.
To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, athletes must wear masks at all time in public, limit social and physical interactions, track their health and location through an official Olympics app, remain in the confines of the village bubble when not competing, and receive multiple tests and temperature checks a day, according to Olympic guidelines.
Athletes must also leave Tokyo within 48 hours after completing their events, refrain from tourism and sightseeing, and avoid public transportation, according to the guidelines.
When high profile athletes such as Coco Gauff miss the Olympics, it affects broadcasting companies as well as the International Olympic Committee, says Conrad Wiacek, head of sports analysis at the consulting firm GlobalData.
“Taking away star power in any sport will have an impact, but for the Olympic Games and the IOC, markets such as the U.S. are crucial given the size of NBC’s broadcast deal with the IOC as well as the revenue being generated through advertising,” Wiacek told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
He put that revenue at $1.25 billion spent on advertising on NBC during the Summer Games.
“Without star athletes, broadcasters will be concerned about viewing figures. The hope will be that new stars are made during the games,” Wiacek said.
This report originally was published with an incorrect byline.
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