Athletes focus on Tokyo Games while avoiding shadow of COVID

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TOKYO (Nexstar) — The Olympic Games are underway in Japan with athletes already winning medals and making memories, but COVID continues to cast a shadow over the competition.

For seven straight days, Tokyo has had more than 1,000 daily COVID-19 cases. Olympic athletes continue to make the list. It’s a challenge both athletes and Tokyo are working to navigate.

Over the weekend, Olympic organizers confirmed the first athlete to test positive for COVID — post-competition. It was a rower from the Netherlands.

“Yeah, it is kind of scary because that would be devastating,” Texas A&M Aggie and long jumper for Trinidad and Tobago Tyra Gittens said.

Then, back-to-back bad news hit in the world of golf. Bryson DeChambeau is out of the Olympics after testing positive for COVID before he was supposed to leave for Tokyo. Hours later, the world’s no. 1 ranked golfer Spain’s Jon Rahm also tested positive.

Athletes in Tokyo, like Gittens, are paying close attention.

“Yes, we do want to go out and explore because this is the Olympics, but, at the same time, your sport matters more and this is what you’ve been training for your whole life,” Gittens said.

On Monday, the International Olympic Committee said it is sticking to its COVID positive guidelines, which include moving an athlete to an isolation facility. The isolation period is determined by the Japanese health authorities.

“Those are incredibly strict and could go up to two weeks,” Mark Adams with the International Olympic Committee said.

Athletes aren’t taking any chances and are prepared to isolate, if necessary.

“I brought my games…bowling…I have a miniature ping pong set and I have a lot of Nexflix to watch so I am good,” Gittens said.

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