Incoming Utes gymnast Kara Eaker tests positive for COVID-19, out of Olympics

Japan 2020

FILE – Kara Eaker competes in the floor exercise during the women’s U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials in St. Louis, in this Friday, June 25, 2021, file photo. Eaker, an alternate on the United States women’s gymnastics team, has tested positive for COVID-19 in an Olympic training camp in Japan. Al Fong, the personal coach for both Eaker and fellow Olympic alternate Leanne Wong, confirmed the positive test in an email to The Associated Press on Monday, July 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

TOKYO (ABC4 Sports) – Incoming Utes freshman gymnast Kara Eaker has tested positive for COVID-19, and has withdrawn from the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.

Eaker had made the team as an alternate. Former Utes All-American MyKayla Skinner and incoming Utes freshman Grace McCallum are still on the team that will compete in Tokyo beginning next week.

Eaker, 18, was vaccinated against COVID-19 two months ago. Eaker will also be subject to further quarantine restrictions before returning to the United States.

The positive test was the latest in a growing line of daily reports of athletes and others testing positive at the pandemic-delayed Olympics. Eaker is the first American to have tested positive after arriving in Japan.

“The health and safety of our athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority. We can confirm that an alternate on the women’s artistic gymnastics team tested positive for COVID-19,” the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in a statement. “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.”

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

No other U.S. gymnast has tested positive for the virus, including reigning Olympic champion Simone Biles.

The positive test came after Eaker received what was described as a “false positive” over the weekend. Eaker took a subsequent test that was negative before testing positive again multiple times.

Biles and the rest of the regular team have been vaccinated. Skinner, who made the team in the “plus-one spot” following Olympic trials — meaning she can compete as an individual in Tokyo — had both COVID-19 and pneumonia last winter.

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