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What happens if a gymnast tests positive for COVID-19 at the Olympics?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC), in conjunction with participating international federations, has slowly released sport-specific regulations to answer that question

Future Utah Ute Kara Eaker competes on floor exercise during the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials.
Kara Eaker competes in the floor exercise during the women’s U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials Friday, June 25, 2021, in St. Louis. An Olympic alternate, the University of Utah-bound gymnast could compete in Tokyo if there is a COVID-19 outbreak.
Jeff Roberson, AP

It is a question that has existed since it was announced that the Olympics would take place this summer despite the on-going pandemic: What happens if athletes test positive for COVID-19?

Over the last few weeks, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in conjunction with participating international federations, has slowly released sport-specific regulations to answer that question, and as reported by Hungarian and Swiss sports journalists Gergely Marosi and Blythe Lawrence on Sunday, the regulations for artistic gymnastics have been finalized.

COVID-19 regulations for gymnastics

Per the IOC:

  • Athletes unable to start the competition will not be disqualified but will be marked as DNS (Did Not Start).
  • Regardless of positive COVID-19 tests, qualification events will take place over one day.
  • If an athlete is unable to compete in the team final, and their National Olympic Committee (NOC) has an additional athlete available, they can enter this athlete to complete the team.
  • In the event it is not feasible to replace an athlete, and not doing so prevents the entire team from participating in the final, the next-highest ranked eligible team based on the team ranking results of qualifications will fill the open position.
  • If an athlete cannot compete in the individual events (all-around, balance beam, floor exercise, uneven bars and vault) the first designated reserve athlete (and all subsequent if needed) may take the same place as the athlete withdrawn. The number of designated reserve athletes may be extended as needed to fill in all vacant positions.

General COVID-19 regulations for all Olympians/teams

  • All sports competition events should start and end as defined by the competition schedule.
  • Any athlete with a positive COVID-19 test result who is unable to compete will be displayed as DNS (“Did Not Start”), rather than disqualified, unless they have breached playbook rules.
  • Where there is enough time to replace DNS athletes/teams, competition positions should be filled, and matches should take place.
  • Athletes/teams will not lose the minimum result they obtained in case of a positive COVID-19 test result. In general, if a team makes a final but cannot start due specifically to a positive COVID-19 test result, they will receive a silver medal.