Speed Skater Casey Dawson Barely Makes It to Beijing, Lost Luggage Means He Has to Borrow Blades

An athlete from Latvia allowed American Casey Dawson to borrow his skating blades, as Dawson's were in his lost baggage

Casey Dawson
Casey Dawson. Photo: David Ramos/Getty

Casey Dawson barely made it to Beijing in time to compete — and though he got there, some necessities got lost in transit.

The American speed skater, 21, competed in the men's 1,500m race this week, returning a disappointing finish in the event after an arduous journey that left him having to borrow skating blades to even take the ice.

Last month, Dawson tested positive for COVID-19 and was not able to travel to China with his teammates two weeks ago. Dawson remained in Salt Lake City, Utah, testing repeatedly in hopes for a chance to still compete in the 2022 Winter Games.

According to the New York Times, around 45 tests later, he finally got four negatives in a row, allowing him to begin his journey to Beijing, despite already missing the men's 5,000m race.

He flew from Salt Lake City, where he had been training, to Atlanta, Georgia. From there, he was on a flight to Paris, France, and eventually, one to Beijing, where he arrived just before 7 a.m. in the morning local time Tuesday — a mere 12 hours before his race, the Times said.

He was finally in China, but then another setback: his luggage was lost. Luckily, he had packed his skating boots and uniform in a carry-on bag, but the blades for his skates were checked.

Saving the day, the outlet reported, was Latvian skater Haralds Silovs, who skates with the same type of blades as Dawson. Silovs had an extra pair that he lent to Dawson for Tuesday's event.

Despite his 1:49.45 finish in 28th place, Dawson tried to remain optimistic. He told USA Today, "I mean, just being here is just amazing. If I get my luggage or not, I'm still an Olympian."

In an Instagram Story post early Tuesday (Eastern) Dawson wrote, "I got to the line, that is all that matters. I am now an Olympian."

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Winter Olympics, now, and the Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.

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