Michael Andrew, a U.S. swimming star who will compete in a number of occasions in Tokyo later this month, turned the most important Olympic identify but to disclose that he has not been vaccinated, saying he didn’t need taking the vaccine to intrude together with his coaching schedule.
As an unvaccinated athlete within the midst of a locked-down Olympic Games, Andrew’s standing might current issues for the U.S. Olympic group within the occasion of a COVID-19 scare or contact tracing through the Video games. Concerns are anticipated to be made for vaccinated Olympians in these instances – however not for the unvaccinated.
Finally month’s U.S. Olympic trials, USA Swimming President and CEO Tim Hinchey estimated “round 90 %” of the U.S. nationwide group had been vaccinated. It’s unknown if another U.S. Olympic swimmers are unvaccinated. Vaccines usually are not obligatory on the Olympic Video games.
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Andrew, 22, the American document holder within the males’s 100-meter breaststroke who mentioned he contracted COVID months in the past, has been coaching with the U.S. Olympic swimming group in Hawaii and is predicted to stick with the group within the Olympic Village in Tokyo.
Each Andrew and his mom have been quoted this yr as saying he was not vaccinated and wouldn’t be, however he had not confirmed his standing since making the Olympic group till he responded to a query from USA TODAY Sports activities throughout a USA Swimming media Zoom name Thursday evening.
“I’m not totally vaccinated, I’m not vaccinated,” he mentioned. “My purpose behind it’s, for one, it was sort of a final second, I didn’t need to put something in my physique that I didn’t know the way I might doubtlessly react to.
“As an athlete on the elite stage, every thing you do may be very calculated and understood. For me, within the coaching cycle, particularly main as much as trials, I didn’t need to danger any days out. There have been durations the place you are taking a vaccine, you need to cope with some days off.”
He then went on to reward the precautions taken by the swimming nationwide governing physique.
“USA Swimming and all of us right here have been by means of very strict protocol with plenty of testing, masks, socially distant, staying away from the crowds, every thing like that,” he mentioned. “Going into Tokyo, the identical factor with testing on daily basis, so we really feel very secure and guarded realizing that we’re minimizing danger as a lot as doable, however personally I’ve not had the vaccine but and don’t plan on it sooner or later. We’ll see as issues go ahead.”
When requested in an earlier media session if there have been unvaccinated athletes on the U.S. Olympic swimming group, together with whether or not Andrew had been vaccinated and if he posed a danger to the Olympic group if he weren’t, U.S. Olympic males’s swimming coach Dave Durden didn’t reply the query, preferring to debate how “very acutely aware and really secure” the athletes, coaches and workers are in coaching camp, “how we’re successfully effervescent ourself by means of our actions, attitudes and behaviors.”
On the trials final month, Lindsay Mintenko, managing director of the U.S. nationwide group, mentioned Olympic COVID and speak to tracing guidelines have been “bearing in mind vaccination standing.”
She mentioned: “They aren’t going to routinely disqualify you in case you are contact traced at this level (if the athlete in query has been vaccinated.) That was excellent news for us. I’ve loads of issues going into the following few weeks. The well being and security of our athletes is at all times our No. 1 precedence. It takes on a complete new which means this yr.
“The virus continues to be right here. It’s on the market, and we’re going into an setting the place we don’t know what the opposite inhabitants has been doing to guard themselves. That makes me nervous. We’re going to do so much to guard ourselves. However I’m nervous about what we’re going to stroll into.”
Seems, a type of who has not protected himself is of their midst.