At least 100 US athletes unvaccinated as Olympics begin

About 100 of the 613 U.S. athletes descending on Tokyo for the Olympics are unvaccinated, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s medical chief said hours before Friday night’s Opening Ceremony

Via AP news wire
Friday 23 July 2021 08:31
Tokyo Olympics USOPC Vaccinations
Tokyo Olympics USOPC Vaccinations

About 100 of the 613 U.S. athletes descending on Tokyo for the Olympics are unvaccinated, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee's medical chief said hours before Friday night's opening ceremony.

Medical director Jonathan Finnoff said 567 of the American athletes had filled out their health histories as they prepared for the trip, and estimated 83% had replied they were vaccinated.

“Eighty-three percent is actually a substantial number and we're quite happy with it,” Finnoff said.

Nationally, 56.3% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The IOC has estimated around 85% of residents of the Olympic Village are vaccinated; that's based that on what each country's Olympic committee reports but is not an independently verified number.

The USOPC figure is more solid — based on questionnaires athletes were asked to fill out before they came to Japan Finnoff said the committee is not differentiating its treatment of athletes based on whether they're vaccinated.

“The best thing to do is to assume everyone's at risk, and reduce risk by introducing COVID mitigation measures that we know work,” he said.

So far, two American athletes — beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb and Kara Eaker, an alternate on the gymnastics team — are known to have tested positive. The IOC has reported 13 positives among all athletes in Japan.

The vaccination rate was the biggest news to come out of an hourlong Q&A with USOPC leadership — a far different affair from the last pre-Olympic news conference. That one, at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, was dominated by talk of the federation's handling of sex-abuse cases in the wake of the trial of former team doctor Larry Nassar.

The USOPC leadership has almost completely turned over since then.

Susanne Lyons is the new chair, Sarah Hirshland is the new CEO and Rick Adams is the new chief of sport performance.

Part of the USOPC's reboot involved deemphasizing the quest for medals and focusing more on athlete health and welfare. The U.S. has led the medals table at every Summer Games since 1996, the Olympics after the old Soviet team disbanded.

But Hirshland is well aware that her performance, and the team's, will still be judged at some level on medals.

“Is the U.S. coming here hoping to win a lot of medals? You bet we are,” Hirshland said.

All expectations, however, are tempered by the reality that a COVID outbreak could turn plans upside down.

“Athletes have adjusted to being comfortable being uncomfortable,” Adams said,. “They’ve been experiencing it, and over the next 17 days, the expectation is to set expectations around things that could change.”

___

More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in