Two Australian skateboarders are “devastated” after their hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics were dashed by a positive test for Covid-19 in the United States.
A group of Australian skaters took off earlier this month for an Olympic qualifying event in Iowa, with some expected to rack up competition points to secure a berth at the Games.
A coach and two skaters then contracted the coronavirus, making sure they were not allowed to compete while their teammates were forced to isolate themselves.
Charlotte Heath, 13, confirmed her diagnosis on social media. “Rather disappointed not to be able to compete,” she posted on Instagram.
Heath and his yet to be named teammate will not be able to score enough points to be part of the Australian Olympic contingent, which can include a maximum of six male and six female skaters.
Poppy Olsen, who is already locked up to represent Australia as the sport makes its Olympic debut in Japan, says other teammates are waiting for the points table after this qualifying event to see “who’s going”.
“Everyone’s fine, our coach is fine, he has cold and flu symptoms, but he’s fine and he’s being watched,” Olsen told ABC Radio.
” Myself [and] another member, Keegan Palmer, we were the only two people really locked up officially [for the Olympics]. Everyone, this was pretty much their last shot to come in, so it’s pretty devastating.
“Really heartbreaking for them. There are a lot of people who are very frustrated. Just because we have arrived, we are very lucky to come from such a safe country with almost no cases of Covid. “
Olsen, who, along with other teammates, received his first dose of Covid-19 vaccine before leaving, tested negative throughout the trip.
“I would also be nervous coming here, having two shots, because it’s still a very scary place and very crowded with Covid,” said the 20-year-old.
The situation underscores some of the risks of hosting the Olympic Games in Tokyo, where athletes, coaches and officials from countries ravaged by the coronavirus will descend into the Japanese capital which is itself in a state of emergency due to the pandemic.
“We knew what it was going to be like to come here and we knew the risks,” said Olsen. “We all knew the challenges and wanted to come and compete. But this is actually happening, with a few positive cases, is really surreal.
“We’re all doing the right things. Everyone tries to be very safe. Two of us are worried, but everything is fine.