Fully-vaccinated US gymnast Kara Eaker, 18, tests POSITIVE for COVID-19 while training for the Olympics in Tokyo, days before opening ceremony - as rising number of cases sparks fresh fears over safety of the Games

 A fully-vaccinated alternate on the US women's gymnastics team has tested positive for COVID-19 while training for the 2021 Olympics in Japan amid increasing concern over the safety of the Games. 

18-year-old Kara Eaker, from Kansas City, is understood to have tested positive on Sunday, having traveled to Tokyo with three other alternates and the six main athletes who are expected to compete in the Games, including defending champion Simone Biles. 

The news of her positive test was initially reported by Japanese officials on Monday morning, however they refused to name the athlete. She has since been identified by her coach, Al Fong, while USA Gymnastics confirmed that one of its alternate athletes had been infected and was quarantining in a local hotel.   

According to WHO-TV reporter Justin Surrency, who spoke with Kara's coach, the teenager will go through 8-14 days of isolation, which began on Sunday.  

Kara's father revealed to local Kansas City news outlet KSHB 41 that his daughter does not have any symptoms and that she is 'doing fine'. On June 27, shortly after she was selected as a traveling alternate for the gymnastics team, Kara told the same publication that she was fully-vaccinated. 

Simone, 24, and the other five women chosen to compete for Team USA at the Olympics - Suni Lee, Jordan Chiles, Mykayla Skinner, Jade Carey, and Grace McCallum - are not understood to have come into contact with Kara, who has been training separately from the main squad alongside the other three alternates.     

Team USA women's gymnast Kara Eaker, 18, has tested positive for COVID-19 while training for the Olympics in Tokyo, her coach revealed on Monday

Team USA women's gymnast Kara Eaker, 18, has tested positive for COVID-19 while training for the Olympics in Tokyo, her coach revealed on Monday  

Japanese officials announced on Monday that a member of the US women's gymnastics team (pictured) had tested positive but did not initially reveal her identity

Japanese officials announced on Monday that a member of the US women's gymnastics team (pictured) had tested positive but did not initially reveal her identity 

Simone Biles and the five other athletes who are expected to compete (pictured) are not understood to have been in close contact with Kara, whose identity was shared by her coach

Simone Biles and the five other athletes who are expected to compete (pictured) are not understood to have been in close contact with Kara, whose identity was shared by her coach

Kara (pictured second from left) is one of four alternates who traveled to Tokyo with the six main members of the gymnastics team, including defending champion Simone, 24

Kara (pictured second from left) is one of four alternates who traveled to Tokyo with the six main members of the gymnastics team, including defending champion Simone, 24

Four alternates were chosen to travel with Team USA's six-woman gymnastics squad; as well as Kara, Kayla DiCello, 17, Emma Malabuyo, 18, and Leanne Wong, 17, are all currently present in Narita, which is where the team has been training.     

Leanne's parents confirmed to KSHB 41 that their daughter, who is also from Kansas City, has tested negative, however she is currently isolating, having come into 'close contact' with Kara. 

On Monday morning, Leanne shared a message of support for her teammate, writing on her Instagram Story: 'Prayers for a speedy recovery for one of our teammates.' 

The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee issued a statement after news of Kara's positive test was shared, saying: 'In alignment with local rules and protocols, the athlete has been transferred to a hotel to quarantine. Out of respect for the individual’s privacy, we cannot provide more information at this time.'

Last week, USA Gymnastics revealed that the four replacement athletes for the women's team would be separated from the six gymnasts who are expected to compete in Tokyo - suggesting that Simone, 24, and her teammates may not have come into close contact with the person who has tested positive. 

The team's four alternates were also rooming together.   

Over the weekend, the women's gymnastics team dealt with what USA Gymnastics called a 'false positive' for an unidentified athlete but the ensuing test results for the athlete were negative, according to the organization. 

Biles, the defending world and Olympic champion, and the rest of the regular team have all been vaccinated, however it is unknown whether all four alternates have received their shots. Athletes were not required to have received the COVID vaccination in order to travel to Tokyo for the Olympics. 

The women's gymnastics team arrived in Japan on July 15 ahead of Friday's opening ceremony in Tokyo. 

The athletes stayed in their rooms and practiced in venues but did not spend time in the city of Narita, NBC News reports. 

Over the weekend, a visitor involved in organizing the games tested positive at the athletes' village in Tokyo, becoming the 15th person connected to the games to have tested positive for COVID-19 since July 1.


Kara's teammate and fellow alternate Leanne Wong is also isolating, having come into 'close contact' with her. Leanne's parents have confirmed that she has tested negative

Kara's teammate and fellow alternate Leanne Wong is also isolating, having come into 'close contact' with her. Leanne's parents have confirmed that she has tested negative  

All four alternates, including Kayla DiCello (pictured) and Emma Malabuyo, have been training separately from Simone Biles and her five teammates, USAG revealed last week
All four alternates, including Kayla DiCello and Emma Malabuyo (pictured), have been training separately from Simone Biles and her five teammates, USAG revealed last week

All four alternates, including Kayla DiCello (left) and Emma Malabuyo (right), have been training separately from Simone Biles and her five teammates, USAG revealed last week 

He was taken to a separate hotel to isolate for 14 days. 

The 2020 Summer Olympics are carrying on after being postponed last year due to the pandemic. 

‘We promised the world we would deliver the games,’ said former Olympian and 2021 Games organizer Seiko Hashimoto. 

‘We have a global challenge, we cannot postpone solving the issues - we have the responsibility to contribute to the solution. We have to complete our mission.’ 

On Monday, Simone and her teammates, Grace, Jordan, Suni, and Mykayla, were all posting images and videos from the Olympic Village on their Instagram accounts, in which the six athletes are seen seen wearing face masks and matching Team USA T-shirts while walking around the site. 

None of the four alternates have posted any social media content from the Olympic Village. 

The news of the Kara's positive COVID tests comes amid growing fears about the safety of this year's Olympics - which are going ahead despite increasing case numbers across the globe and spikes of the Delta variant. 

Olympic organizers have faced furious backlash from locals in Japan - which is currently suffering a fifth wave of increased COVID infections, prompting a state of emergency to be declared in the capital. 

That state of emergency is due to remain in place throughout the Olympic Games. 

This means that the majority of athletes at the Olympics, which was postponed by a year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, will perform in front of empty stadiums, with no crowds present - after large gatherings were banned in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus.   

Simone and her teammate Jordan were seen posing in front of the Olympic rings on Monday, as the news about the positive test result was revealed

Simone and her teammate Jordan were seen posing in front of the Olympic rings on Monday, as the news about the positive test result was revealed 

Jordan was also seen posing alongside Grace, Mykayla, and Suni, in the same spot, while flashing their Olympic credentials

Jordan was also seen posing alongside Grace, Mykayla, and Suni, in the same spot, while flashing their Olympic credentials 

The six gymnasts who make up the competing team all appear to have been given the all-clear and were seen out and about on Monday morning as news of Kara's infection broke
The six gymnasts who make up the competing team all appear to have been given the all-clear and were seen out and about on Monday morning as news of Kara's infection broke

The six gymnasts who make up the competing team all appear to have been given the all-clear and were seen out and about on Monday morning as news of Kara's infection broke

Defending champion Simone was seen scribbling her name on a wall of athletes' autographs

Defending champion Simone was seen scribbling her name on a wall of athletes' autographs 

In the days since athletes and their coaches began arriving at the Olympic Village, there have been multiple infections reported, with the US gymnastics team becoming the latest in a growing line of squads to suffer a positive test result. 

The first infection - a coach traveling with Uganda's squad - was reported on June 20 when the team arrived at Narita airport, and since then, there have been more than a dozen cases among athletes and staff. 

On Sunday, it was announced that six British Olympic athletes and two team staff are also self-isolating in Tokyo after being identified as close contacts of a passenger who subsequently tested positive for coronavirus on their plane to Japan. 

Olympic organizers revealed the news shortly after the South African football team announced that two of its players had tested positive. 

They were named as players Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi.

Video Analyst Mario Masha from the South African squad also tested positive on arrival in Tokyo as the team prepares to face hosts Japan on Thursday.

Mahlatsi and Monyane were the first athletes in the village to be reported positive, and the most recent cases have added even more fears about the Tokyo Olympics, which are to open on Friday after being delayed a year by the pandemic.

On Sunday, 17-year-old tennis star Coco Gauff confirmed on social media that she would not be able to represent Team USA in the Tokyo Games, saying: 'I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for COVID and won't be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

'It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future.

'I want to wish TEAM USA best of luck and a safe games for every Olympian and the entire Olympic family.' 

When it is at peak capacity, the Olympic Village - which is a complex of apartments and dining areas in Tokyo - will house 6,700 athletes and officials. 

Guards block a road leading into the Tokyo Olympics athletes' village on July 19 after two South African football players tested positive for COVID-19 inside

Guards block a road leading into the Tokyo Olympics athletes' village on July 19 after two South African football players tested positive for COVID-19 inside

COVID cases in Toyko are on the rise with 1,300 cases recorded on July 15

COVID cases in Toyko are on the rise with 1,300 cases recorded on July 15

Current COVID cases are the highest figures in the Japanese capital within the last six months

Current COVID cases are the highest figures in the Japanese capital within the last six months

COVID cases in Toyko are on the rise with 1,300 cases recorded on July 15 - the highest figures in the Japanese capital within the last six months.

It is not known what COVID variant the athletes have, but the rise in Japan's case figures has been attributed to the spread of the highly-infectious Delta variant, which first originated in India.

On Saturday, Games chief Seiko Hashimoto admitted athletes are 'probably very worried' about coming to Japan, pledging full transparency over COVID cases.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach also appealed for Japanese fans to show support, saying he was 'very well aware of the scepticism' surrounding the Games.

There is widespread concern that despite increased precautions, not enough can be done to stop the estimated 85,000 athletes, officials, journalists and other workers coming into Japan from introducing fast-spreading coronavirus variants.

Japan currently has a largely unvaccinated population already that is struggling with mounting cases.

'It's all based on the honor system, and it's causing concern that media people and other participants may go out of their hotels to eat in Ginza,' Takeshi Saiki, an opposition lawmaker, said of what he called Japan's lax border controls.

So far, the majority of Olympic athletes and other participants have been exempted from typical quarantine requirements.

Athletes are arriving in Japan to find a restrictive environment, with daily testing, social distancing and no movement possible outside the Olympic 'bubble'.

They are under orders to leave Japan 48 hours after their event.

The Japanese press is filled with reports of Olympic-related people testing positive for the coronavirus.

'There are big holes in the bubbles,' said Ayaka Shiomura, another opposition lawmaker, speaking of the so-called 'bubbles' that are supposed to separate the Olympics' participants from the rest of the country.

In another example of the difficulties, Australia's entire athletics team was quarantined before departure after a member of their entourage returned an inconclusive test. The official later tested negative.


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