Three more Tokyo 2020 athletes test positive for Covid-19, One in Olympic Village

Health expert advising organizers says the number of cases are “maybe lower than we were expecting”

By Gerard Farek

A Czech beach volleyball player, an American 3x3 women’s basketball player, and a member of the USA’s women’s gymnastics team are the latest athletes to test positive at Tokyo 2020.

The Czech Olympic Committee announced on Monday that Ondrej Perusic had been taken to a hotel to be quarantined.

Olympic Village in Tokyo (ATR)
Olympic Village in Tokyo (ATR)

He is the third athlete to test positive for the coronavirus in the Olympic Village, joining two members of South Africa’s men’s football team.

Later on Monday, USA 3x3 basketball player Katie Lou Samuelson announced on social media that she was sick with Covid-19 and was unable to travel to Tokyo and compete in the Games. She also said she had been vaccinated. The team had been training in Las Vegas and was due to fly to Tokyo on Monday, according to the social media account of Samuelson’s teammate Stefanie Dolson. USA Basketball named Jackie Young to replace Samuelson.

The American gymnastics team member was not identified by name but only as “one of the replacement athletes” on the team. A statement on Monday from USA Gymnastics said her test came back positive on Sunday. The team has been in an Olympic training camp in Japan.

“After reviewing the implemented COVID protocols with members of the delegation, the local government determined that the affected replacement athlete and one other replacement athlete would be subject to additional quarantine restrictions,” the USAG statement said.

“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.”

So far, there have been about 60 cases of Covid-19 infections reported linked to the Olympics within Japan, almost all of them Tokyo 2020 employees and contractors.

At a press conference on Monday, a health expert who is advising the IOC and organizers on countermeasures against the coronavirus said the number of cases was “maybe lower than we were expecting”.

Brian McCloskey said that the longer athletes and others stay in the Olympic Village it becomes less likely for them to test positive since the testing procedures will remove those who are infected as well as those who have come into close contact with the infected.

Earlier on Monday, Olympic Games Operation Director Pierre Ducrey said there have been a few adjustments needed in light of the many protocols put into place to keep the risk of infections to a minimum.

“The whole model was built to be able to trigger a number of alternative scenarios,” Ducrey says, adding that there have been some tweaks based on the activities of the stakeholders’ activities. He cited adjustments made to the transportation schedule and food consumption.

“When it comes to food consumption, some of the entities working, it takes longer to produce because the protocols are different. They are more restrictive. So there’s a number of things that I would say, because of the Covid environment and how it applies to the reality of the business in Japan, that you need to adapt the services and how they are being delivered.”