Kara Eaker's Dad Says 'Hope Is Gone' for Gymnast at Tokyo Olympics After Positive COVID Test
Kara Eaker's positive COVD-19 test results were revealed on Monday by her coach
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced on Monday that "an alternate on the women's artistic gymnastics team tested positive for COVID-19," but would not name Eaker, 18, "out of respect for the individual's privacy."
The gymnast's coach Al Fong later confirmed the positive test to the Associated Press, saying that she tested positive while at a training camp in Japan. The coach added that the athlete had been fully vaccinated.
"There was hope up to this point, even as an alternate," Eaker's father Mark told KSHB of his daughter's chance at competition. "Now that the results have come back, that hope is gone."
Mark expressed that he's "most disappointed" for the gymnast because of how long she's had her eyes set on competing in the Games.
"I feel bad for her, because like I said, she's trained most of her life for this," he told the outlet.
Eaker's mother Katherine added that she's "incredibly thankful that we got her vaccinated" because she's asymptomatic.
"Everyone is telling us — all the medical people are telling us — that's to her benefit," she said of the vaccine. "If there's something I could tell everybody: Take this seriously."
The 18-year-old is one of four alternates on Team USA's women's gymnastics team. Fellow alternate Leanne Wong, 17, was also placed in quarantine due to possible exposure, per KSHB, although she tested negative.
Eaker is one of 58 reported cases of COVID-19 connected to the pandemic postponed event, CNN reported.
Of those 58, three athletes who are in the Olympic village have tested positive, according to the Associated Press. Those Olympic hopefuls include Czech Republic beach volleyball player Ondřej Perušič and two South African men's soccer players.
With 11,000 athletes and thousands of support staff expected to stay in the Olympic Village, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has said that there is "zero" risk of athletes infecting Japanese residents with COVID-19. Spectators have recently been banned from attending the Summer Olympics as Tokyo declared a state of emergency.
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Additionally, all Olympians are required to wear face masks inside the athletes' village even if they're vaccinated.
Nearly 10,000 of the 80,000 unpaid Olympic volunteers previously pulled out of the event, many citing COVID-19 concerns. Meanwhile, a recent study found almost 60 percent of people in Japan want the Summer Olympics to be cancelled for the same reasoning.
To learn more about all the Olympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. The Tokyo Olympics begin July 23rd on NBC.