U.S. speed skater frustrated by Beijing testing requirements

Casey Dawson recovered from Covid-19 three weeks ago, but must pass four tests to go to the Olympics.

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Jan 5, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Casey Dawson competes in the Men's 5000 meter event during the 2022 US Olympic Trials - Long Track for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at Pettit National Ice Center. Mandatory Credit: Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 5, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Casey Dawson competes in the Men's 5000 meter event during the 2022 US Olympic Trials - Long Track for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at Pettit National Ice Center. Mandatory Credit: Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

BEIJING — U.S. speed skater Casey Dawson got tangled up in some red tape that will keep him from competing Sunday in the men’s 5000 meters at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Dawson wrote on Instagram that he was “saddened to announce” that he would miss his individual races — the 5000 and 1500 — but hoped to still compete in team pursuit.

Dawson was part of the U.S. team that set the world record in team pursuit in December.

“It’s hard to trust anyone, even people in the highest of positions, when they can’t even provide you with the correct information,” he wrote. “I was lost, and am still lost, but I know none of this is in my control.”

Dawson said that he tested positive for COVID-19 three weeks ago and “finally started testing negative this week.

Jan 9, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Casey Dawson competes in the Men's Mass Start event during the 2022 US Olympic Trials - Long Track for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at Pettit National Ice Center. Mandatory Credit: Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Casey Dawson competes in the Men's Mass Start event during the 2022 US Olympic Trials - Long Track for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at Pettit National Ice Center. Mandatory Credit: Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

“I thought everything was good to go to leave and get to Beijing before my 5000m,” he wrote, “and according to everyone I’ve been in contact with, that was the general consensus.

Dawson, 21, said he was under the impression he needed two consecutive negative tests in order to go.

He said he was then told four negative tests are required “to even consider sending me over.”

However, that has always been the protocol for people who have recently recovered from the virus.

In addition, Dawson was frustrated that the testing site he used was on a list approved by the Chinese embassy or consulate, but that designation changed and he had to find a new testing site.

Matt Kooreman, long track program director for US Speedskating, told the Associated Press that the team is trying to arrange for Dawson to arrive on Monday. The 1500 is Tuesday. Dawson could be replaced by teammates in both of his individual races.

Team pursuit begins on Feb. 13 with quarterfinals, followed by semifinals and the final on Feb. 15.

The U.S. team of Joey Mantia, Emery Lehman and Dawson have medal hopes based on their world record. They have an innovative strategy in which Mantia leads the whole race. The Americans found that method was more efficient than having different skaters lead during the race.

Teammate Maame Biney replied to Dawson’s instagram post, “keep your head up Casey! Keep doing what you do best & it’ll all work out!”

Dawson thanked his supporters and said, “Just know this is just one setback that can’t and won’t stop me.”

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