It appears that Kara Eaker's Olympic experience is over before it ever really got started.
According to reports by Sports Illustrated, Eaker is one of two US Gymnasts, along with fellow alternate Leanna Wong, to test positive for COVID-19.
They have both been placed in isolation.
U.S. officials said the test took place when the team was training just outside Tokyo in Inzai City. Team members arrived last week for the camp to great fanfare at Narita airport.
“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 USOPC statement said. “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.”
Eaker's positive test was first confirmed by Al Fong, the personal coach for Eaker. In an email to the Associated Press and first reported by Justin Surrency of WHO-TV.
Eaker will now go through an isolation period of 8-14 days, all depending on her symptoms and overall health. Already vaccinated, Eaker's father said that she is in good spirits, doing fine and experiencing no symptoms.
The future Red Rock began her isolation/quarantine on Sunday, which means that her 2020 Olympics aren't officially over yet.
If her quarantine is on the shorter side, she could still return to the competition for the event finals — if needed. If her quarantine takes the full 14 days, she will be unable to compete even if called upon.
“One of the replacement athletes for the women’s artistic gymnastics team received a positive COVID test on Sunday, July 18," USA Gymnastics said in statement. "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.”
As an alternate with Team USA, Eaker found herself in a very similar role as former Red Rock star MyKayla Skinner did five years ago.
Much like future teammate Grace McCallum who has yet to begin her college career, Eaker traveled to Tokyo as an alternate for the team. Should a gymnast get sick or injured and be unable to compete, she could be called upon to show the world how talented she is.
“It was a nervous, butterfly feeling,” Eaker said about awaiting the results and team nominations. “This means so much to me.”
Eaker showed her prowess on the balance beam, finishing second overall throughout the trials. She also showcased her skillset on floor, finishing sixth overall — all of it leading to a seventh place finish in the all-around during the Olympic Trials.
2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Gymnastics Schedule
- July 25 – Women's Qualification
- July 27 – Women's Team Final
- July 29 – Women's All-Around Final
- Aug. 1 – Women's Vault & Uneven Bars Final
- Aug. 2 – Women's Floor Exercise Final
- Aug. 3 – Women's Balance Beam Final