This story was updated Monday, July 19, 2021.
July 18, 2021 – Several Olympic athletes have tested positive for the coronavirus since arriving in Tokyo ahead of Friday’s opening ceremonies, including at least one alternate to the U.S. women's gymnastics team and a top contender on the U.S. women's tennis team.
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee confirmed the positive test and said the unnamed participant is quarantining at a hotel, CNN reported.
"The health and safety of our athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority," the committee said in a statement. "We can confirm that an alternate on the women’s artistic gymnastics team tested positive for COVID-19. 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."
Also, U.S. tennis player Coco Gauff tested positive for the coronavirus and has withdrawn from the Games.
"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,'' Gauff said on Twitter. "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.''
Meanwhile, at least two competitors staying in the athletes village have also tested positive. The pair are from the same country and participate in the same sport, according to Reuters, but officials have not identified them. However, the South African Football Association also announced Sunday that three members, including two soccer players and a video analyst, tested positive, according to The Washington Post.
There have been at least 15 positive cases connected to the Olympics, including a third athlete who was not staying at the village.
While thousands of competitors are expected to participate in the Games, the first sign of COVID-19 within the Olympic “bubble” almost a week before the opening ceremony is a sign of how difficult – and controversial – these Games will be to pull off.
While those who support continuing with these Olympics say word of the cases shows the strength of the Olympic testing system, they also fuel the feeling among many in Japan who believe they should be canceled.