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USA gymnast Kara Eaker, a Utah commit, tests positive for COVID-19 in Tokyo

Eaker, who was vaccinated, is the first American to test positive for the coronavirus prior to the Olympics.

(Jeff Roberson | AP) Kara Eaker competes in the floor exercise during the women's U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials Friday, June 25, 2021, in St. Louis. Eaker, an alternate for the USA Gymnastics squad, tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated. She is the first American athlete to test positive in Japan.

USA gymnast Kara Eaker is the first American to test positive for COVID-19 at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Eaker tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving in Japan. In an email to the Associated Press on Monday, Al Fong, Eaker’s personal coach, confirmed the positive test.

Fong said Eaker, who last November committed to compete for the University of Utah, was vaccinated two months ago. Eaker confirmed she was vaccinated in a press conference immediately following the Olympic Trials, where she finished seventh in the all-around. The rise of the Delta variant has made infections in vaccinated people, known as “breakthrough cases,” more likely.

Fong also coaches alternate Leanne Wong, who said at the Trials she had not been vaccinated and was weighing whether she would do so before leaving for Tokyo. Both athletes have been placed in quarantine.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement Monday that an athlete had tested positive and that she and another athlete would be isolated and subject to restrictions.

The rest of the team, including former Red Rock MyKayla Skinner and Grace McCallum, who also committed to Utah last November, were moved into their hotel as scheduled.

“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,” the organization said in a statement. “The entire delegation continues to be vigilant and will maintain strict protocols while they are in Tokyo.”

The alternates traveled to Japan with the six-member Team USA, according to the Associated Press. The alternates have been rooming together since their arrival, while the members of the primary team have been rooming together. Olympic athletes were moved to a new hotel, as was planned, and all athletes and coaches were given separate rooms following the positive test, according to USA Gymnastics. Alternates typically train in separate locations from the main team, but they shared a facility in Tokyo, although they were split into separate groups. The city is in a state of emergency because of the virus and Olympic teams are required to stay in their “bubble” and avoid travel anywhere other than to training facilities, their lodging and competition venues.

The positive test came after Eaker received what was described as a “false positive” over the weekend, according to the AP. Eaker took a subsequent test that was negative before testing positive again multiple times.

COVID-19 saliva tests are given daily to all members of the USA Gymnastics delegation. In addition, all the primary members of Team USA are vaccinated. Skinner was hospitalized with pneumonia after contracting COVID-19 in January.

The news comes after a weekend in which the first positive COVID-19 tests were found in the athletes village and after an IOC official tested positive for the disease. According to the AP, nearly 60 people who have been linked to the Olympics in Japan have reported positive tests since July 1.

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