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Olympic alternate, future Utah gymnast Kara Eaker reportedly tests positive for COVID-19

Eaker will isolate for 8-14 days in Tokyo, while continuing to train in a separate facility from the rest of Team USA

Kara Eaker competes in the floor exercise
Kara Eaker competes in the floor exercise during the women’s U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials Friday, June 25, 2021, in St. Louis. Eaker has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 at the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

From the moment athletes began arriving in Tokyo for the Olympics, the threat of positive COVID-19 tests have hung over the proceedings.

On Sunday, the Washington Post reported that multiple South African athletes had tested positive for the virus and on Monday, American gymnast Kara Eaker, one of four alternates on Team USA, also reportedly tested positive.

WHO-TV reporter Justin Surrency was first to report that Eaker tested positive for the virus, a report later substantiated by USA Today columnist Nancy Armour.

Following the Olympic trials, Eaker’s coach Al Fong confirmed that she had been vaccinated for COVID-19, and per a report by KSHB in Kansas City, she “is doing fine and has no symptoms.”

Eaker will go through 8-14 days of isolation, according to Fong, a period that started Sunday. Fong, who is in Tokyo with Eaker and her club teammate Leanne Wong, another U.S. alternate, is not required to isolate, per Armour, but “will stay with our athletes throughout.”

In an official statement, USAG said, “One of the replacement athletes for the women’s artistic gymnastics team received a positive COVID test on Sunday, July 18. 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. 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. The entire delegation continues to be vigilant and will maintain strict protocols while they are in Tokyo.”

Eaker will be attending the University of Utah in the fall and will compete for Utah’s gymnastics program during the 2021-22 season. In a statement, Utah’s head coach Tom Farden expressed support of Eaker.

“We are devastated and heartbroken for Kara as she has worked extremely hard to become a part of Team USA in Tokyo,” Farden said. “Unfortunately, the virus is still very present and can affect fully vaccinated individuals. We will support her in any capacity she need with the many resources we have here at Utah. Our entire community is behind her through this difficult time and wish her a speedy recovery.”