TOKYO – Kara Eaker, a vice-president of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, tested positive for COVID-19 at an Olympic training camp in Japan.
Al Fong, Eaker and Leanne Wong’s personal trainer, confirmed the positive test in an email to The Associated Press on Monday. The 18-year-old Eaker was vaccinated against the novel corona virus two months ago, the trainer said.
Eaker and Wong were isolated.
USA Gymnastics did not identify Eaker or Wong, but said in a statement that the athlete who tested positive and another alternate would be subject to additional quarantine restrictions.
“As originally planned, the Olympic athletes have moved to separate accommodations and a separate training facility and will continue their preparation for the Games,” the organization said in a statement. “The entire delegation remains vigilant and will adhere to strict protocols while in Tokyo.”
The positive test was the latest in a growing series of daily reports from athletes and others who tested positive at the Olympics postponed by the pandemic. Eaker is the first American to test positive after arriving in Japan.
“In accordance with local rules and protocols, the athlete was quarantined in a hotel,” the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a statement, invoking privacy as the person was not identified.
The four deputies – Eaker, Wong, Kayla DiCello and Emma Malabuyo – traveled to Japan with the six-member US delegation of World and Olympic Champion Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, Sunisa Lee, MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey.
The positive test came after Eaker received what was described as a “false positive” over the weekend. Eaker took a subsequent test that came back negative before testing positive multiple times.
“Kara is doing very well with no symptoms,” said Karla Grimes, who works at the GAGE Center, the Kansas City, Missouri suburb where Eaker trains, in an email to the AP. “She is incredibly strong and very brave. While this is a very disappointing result for her, she wants everyone to know that she is fine.”
Biles, who is also world champion, and the rest of the regular team were vaccinated. Skinner, who put the team in “plus one” – meaning they can compete as an individual in Tokyo – battled both COVID-19 and pneumonia after last winter’s Olympics.
Alternates have had rooms with other alternates since arriving in Japan, with the competitive teams living with other competitors. All Olympic athletes and coaches have moved to their own rooms since the positive test, and the Olympic athletes are also moving to a new hotel, as originally planned.
The games will open in Tokyo on Friday with a state of emergency, which means almost all venues will be fanless as new cases occur in the capital. The women’s gymnastics team starts the competition on Sunday.
U.S. officials said the test took place while the team was training in Inzai City just outside Tokyo. Team members arrived at the camp at Narita Airport last week to a great noise.
The Tokyo city government reported 727 new cases in the capital on Monday. It’s the 30th day in a row that cases have been higher than the previous week. Last Monday there were 502 cases.
The total number of game-related infections was officially 58 since July 1, before the two new cases (Eaker and a Czech beach volleyball player) were announced. They should be included in the official balance sheet on Tuesday.
These resulted from 22,000 people arriving in Japan since July 1, of whom 4,000 stayed in the village, said Pierre Ducrey, the Olympic Games operations director. Around 11,000 athletes are expected to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.