The United States Women's Gymnastics team will begin competing at the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 24. The six athletes competing in the games are Simone Biles, Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee, Jade Carey, MyKayla Skinner, and Grace McCallum.
Less than one week before the start of the 2021 Olympics, it was confirmed that one gymnast from the U.S. team has tested positive for the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19). The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed it on Monday, July 19.
USA Gymnastics did not release the name of the athlete who had tested positive for COVID-19. “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, via The Washington Post. “The entire delegation continues to be vigilant and will maintain strict protocols while they are in Tokyo.”
Several outlets have confirmed that the athlete who tested positive is U.S. alternate Kara Eaker.
Was Kara Eaker vaccinated? U.S. Olympic gymnast tests positive for COVID-19.
According to The Washington Post, Kara's coach, Al Fong, confirmed to the Associated Press that the 18-year-old was the gymnast who tested positive for COVID-19.
Kara is one of four alternates who traveled with the U.S. Women's Gymnastics team to Tokyo.
Though Kara has tested positive for the virus, Fong told the outlet that his athlete was vaccinated two months prior. Kara also confirmed that she had received the vaccine in a press conference following the Olympic trials. With the Delta variant on the rise, reports state that "breakthrough cases" are becoming more likely in vaccinated individuals.
According to the CDC, "Vaccine breakthrough cases are expected" because no immunization is 100 percent effective. COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100 percent effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people."
"There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19."
Kara's father, Mark Eaker, told KMBC that his daughter is currently displaying no symptoms and will have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days before being allowed to return to the United States.
"I know she's disappointed, but at this point, she says she's kind of bored because she's stuck in her room not being able to do anything, can't practice, or anything like that. She says she's bored and just looking forward to coming home," he said. "The biggest disappointment is that this takes her out of it completely."
At this time, several outlets have reported that a second alternate on the Women's Gymnastics team is currently in isolation after being in close contact with Kara. However, USA Gymnastics did not identify the athlete.