US Women’s Gymnastics Alternate Kara Eaker Tests Positive for COVID-19 in Tokyo

18-year-old athlete previously said she was vaccinated and is currently isolating

2021 U.S. Women's Gymnastics Olympic Team
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An alternate for the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team has tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling with the team to Tokyo, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said on Monday (via the Washington Post).

Kara Eaker, an 18-year-old athlete from Grain Valley, Mo., was identified by her coach Al Fong to a TV station in Iowa that Eaker was the athlete who had tested positive. Eaker previously said last month that she had been vaccinated.

The gymnast, who was not named by Japanese officials or by the team, was isolated in separate lodgings and will need to quarantine until she tests negative. She’s also a close-contact of another member of the team who is also an alternate and has also been quarantined, according to USA Gymnastics.

“Accordingly, on Monday, the Olympic athletes moved to separate lodging accommodations and a separate training facility, as originally planned, and will continue their preparation for the Games,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement. “The entire delegation continues to be vigilant and will maintain strict protocols while they are in Tokyo.”

The case is the first known for a member of Team USA who has traveled abroad to Tokyo for the games, though tennis player Coco Gauff also announced that she had tested positive for coronavirus and was also forced to drop out of the games.

The U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team includes Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles, Suni Lee, Grace Mccallum, Jade Carey and McKayla Skinner. The alternates are Eaker, Kayla DiCello, Emma Malabuyo and Leanne Wong. The team’s head coach is Laurent Landi. The team, which is heavily favored for the gold medal, has trained at the same facility and had recently been seeing posing for photos.

Wong on Monday posted to her Instagram story, saying, “Prayers for a speedy recovery for one of our teammates.”

The Women’s Gymnastics competition begins on Sunday with a qualification round.


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