Virus infections for Olympic athletes, coaches rising faster
BEIJING (AP) — Athletes and team officials are testing positive for COVID-19 at much higher rates than other people arriving in China for the Beijing Olympics, organizers said Tuesday.
Figures released by local organizers showed 11 positive tests for COVID-19 among 379 athletes and officials arriving Monday. They have been taken into isolation hotels to limit the spread of the infection and could miss their events.
The positive test rate of 2.9% for athletes and officials compared to 0.66% for Olympic “stakeholders,” a group which includes workers and media, in the same period. There were 1,059 people in that category.
Over a three-day period from Saturday through Monday, the positivity rate for athletes and officials was 40% higher than other Olympic arrivals.
The rates were confirmed in PCR and other follow-up tests for tens of thousands of people at the Beijing Olympics who will live, work and train in closed-off communities separated from the general public. The Chinese government is pursuing a zero-tolerance public health strategy.
On Monday, the rate of infection from tests of those already inside the Olympic bubbles was 100 times higher for athletes and officials compared to workers. Five of 3,103 tests from the athletes-officials group were positive compared to only one of more than 60,000 daily tests from “stakeholders.”
A total of 200 positive tests for COVID-19 have now been recorded at the Olympics since Jan. 23. Of those 200, 67 were athletes and officials. “Stakeholders” accounted for the other 133.
Among the athletes testing positive in Beijing is Hong Kong skier Audrey King, who arrived from a training camp in Bosnia-Herzegovina. King told the South China Morning Post she had no symptoms and was optimistic of skiing in the women’s slalom on Feb. 9.
The most senior athlete representative at the International Olympic Committee, two-time Olympic hockey medalist Emma Terho, also is in an isolation hotel after testing positive on arrival.
“Even though this is not the start I envisaged, I was happy to see the protocols that Beijing 2022 has put in place are working well,” Terho, an IOC member from Finland who sits on the Olympic body’s executive board, wrote on her Instagram account.
More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/winter-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America/TNS
After eight tries, the 25-year-old figure skater finally won her first U.S. championship this month, becoming the oldest woman to hold the title since 1927. She will be the oldest U.S. female Olympic figure skater in 94 years.
Chen is a six-time national champion, but the prize he wants most – Olympic gold – has eluded him. He entered the 2018 Olympics as a favorite but struggled and finished fifth. Since that disappointment he has dominated the sport. He won 14 titles, including over the world’s top skaters, including reigning Olympic champion Hanyu Yuzuru of Japan. Chen is the first skater to land five different quadruple jumps in competition. He is enrolled at Yale University, majoring in statistics and data science.
The halfpipe silver medalist at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, Ferreira is going for gold this time. Alex is the son of former Argentine soccer player Marcelo, who played for River Plate briefly before emigrating to the United States. Alex’s mother, Colleen, is a marathon runner.
Jackson is the world’s top-ranked 500-meter speedskater, but almost didn’t get a spot on the U.S. Olympic team after a rare slip during trials left her in third place. Her teammate Brittany Bowe, who will be competing in the 1,000 and 1,500 meters, gave up her 500-meter spot so Jackson could compete. In November Jackson became the first black woman to win a World Cup event.
Chloe Kim made headlines four years ago, when, at age 17, she won the Olympic gold medal in the halfpipe, the youngest woman to ever medal in snowboarding. She is favored to defend her Olympic title in Beijing as she has not lost a World Cup event since 2018. She took time off to attend Princeton University but returned to the tour in 2021 and won the X Games.
Roque is one of eight first-time Olympians on the 2022 USA roster. She played center for the University of Wisconsin team that won the 2019 national title and the USA team that won a silver at worlds last year. Roque is a member of the Wahnapitae First Nation and the first Indigenous player to represent the United States in women’s hockey.
Shiffrin, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has won 11 world championship medals (six of them gold), more than any other American skier. She ranks third in World Cup titles with 72, won the gold medal in slalom at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and in giant slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics. She has overcome adversity since the last Olympics. Her beloved maternal grandmother died at age 98 in October 2019 and her father died four months later of a head injury suffered in an accident at home. Shiffrin tested positive for COVID-19 in late-December and missed two races but returned to the tour in early January.
Rebecca S. Gratz
Shuster is a five-time Olympic curler who led the U.S. team to its first-ever gold medal in 2018. He also was a member of the 2006 Olympic bronze medal team. He is the first curler to compete in five Olympics. Shuster, facing younger and more athletic competition last year, dropped 25 pounds and said he has never worked harder to make an Olympic team.
Stoltz is considered the future of U.S. men’s speedskating, but he is proving he is already poised to compete with the best. He won the 500-meter and 1000-meter races at the recent Olympic Trials, breaking the 1000-meter track record set by two-time Olympic gold medalist Shani Davis. Stolz will be the third-youngest American male speedskater to compete at the Games.
White, the former skateboarder who gained fame as “The Flying Tomato”, is a five-time Winter Olympian and three-time gold medalist. He won golds in the halfpipe in 2006, 2014 and 2018. He finished fourth among Americans in the World Snowboard Points list before Beijing. White has also dabbled in acting and music.