Reigning pole vault world champion Sam Kendricks has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the event at the Tokyo Olympics. The positive result means that the Rio Olympics bronze-medallist has been ruled out of the competition.
"The health and safety of our athletes, coaches and staff is our priority. We are saddened to confirm that Sam Kendricks tested positive for COVID-19 and will not compete in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. In alignment with local rules and protocols, he has been transferred to a hotel to be placed in isolation and is being supported by the USATF and USOPC staff," said the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USPOC) in a Twitter thread on Thursday.
"Sam is an incredible and accomplished member of Team USA and his presence will be missed. Out of respect for his privacy, we cannot provide more information at this time," the USPOC added.
The immediate effect of Kendricks testing positive came on the Athletics contingent of Australia, three of whom had a brief contact with the American in the Olympic Village. After isolating in their rooms, 54 members were cleared to move into normal routine after spending two hours in their rooms.
"All three tested negative after undergoing a PCR Test this afternoon, while teammates remained in their rooms in line with AOC COVID protocols. The three, who are all vaccinated, self-reported once they heard news of the US athlete testing positive late this morning. All daily tests of the trio in the Village had also returned negative results. The three team members tested this afternoon are now in isolation and will be tested daily. They will be allowed to resume training, subject to strict protocols that restricts their contact with others. At this stage all athletes are expected to compete as planned," said a statement by the Australian Olympic Committee.
Earlier on Thursday, men's pole vaulter German Chiaraviglio of Argentina had also been ruled out of the Olympics due to a positive COVID-19 result.
"It's really hard to process something like this, it surely takes me a long time. This Olympic Games we knew it was different and with different rules, and here I am, it touches me," said his Instagram post.
The qualification for the men's pole vault will take place on July 31 followed by the final on August 3 at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.