U.S. Pole Vaulter Sam Kendricks Positive for COVID-19 Ahead of Track and Field Start at Olympics

"Sam is an incredible and accomplished member of Team USA and his presence will be missed," the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a statement

Sam Kendricks
Sam Kendricks. Photo: CHRISTINE OLSSON/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

Sam Kendricks will not be able to participate in the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19, it was announced on Thursday.

Kendricks is the latest Team USA athlete to miss the Games due to a positive result, which comes just ahead of the start of track and field events in Japan. The 28-year-old competes in the pole vault and won a bronze medal at the 2016 Games in Rio.

"The health and safety of our athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority. We are saddened to confirm that Sam Kendricks tested positive for COVID-19 and will not compete in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020," the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a statement on Twitter. "In alignment with local rules and protocols, he has been transferred to a hotel to be placed in isolation and is being supported by the USATF and USOPC staff."

Continues the USOPC, "Sam is an incredible and accomplished member of Team USA and his presence will be missed. Out of respect for his privacy, we cannot provide more information at this time."

Subsequently, members of the Australian Olympic track and field team are now in isolation after being in potential contact with Kendricks, Variety reported.

Later on Thursday, Kendricks shared a video and wrote in the caption, "I'm in fine health, don't worry about me! I'll weather this predicament and isolation for the love of the game."

He continued, "MY TEAM USA! You are my team, and I'm not so far away. I am proud of you! My Family, my friends and my hometown, I'll be home quick as I can back to the place I love most after I get out of this box."

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On Thursday, Tokyo 2020 spokesman Takaya Masa said that between July 1 and July 27, 39,000 COVID-19 tests had been conducted at Tokyo airports in relation to the Olympics, with only 30 positive cases. Over 310,000 tests have been conducted adjacent to the Games, with 64 positive for coronavirus.

Other Team USA athletes that won't be able to compete in these Games have included Coco Gauff, who confirmed she was positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Olympics' start, and golfer Bryson DeChambeau, who "tested positive as part of the final testing protocol before he left the United States for the Olympics 2020 in Japan." Volleyball player Taylor Crabb confirmed the morning of July 22 on Instagram that he tested positive, and 18-year-old gymnastics alternate Kara Eaker had to pull out after testing positive as well.

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

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