US women’s gymnastics team bolts Olympic Village as COVID worries grow

Amid heightened concerns over COVID-19, the US women’s gymnastics team has elected to stay in a hotel rather than board in Tokyo’s Olympic Village.

“It was also a decision that we all made together, we know it isn’t ideal for the Olympic experience but nothing is ideal during a pandemic,” Cecile Landi, the coach for both Simone Biles and Jordan Chiles, wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

“We feel like we can control the athletes and our safety better in a hotel setting!”

On Monday, Kara Eaker, an alternate on the team, became the first known COVID-19 case among US Olympians. Eaker, who is vaccinated, tested positive in an Olympic training camp in Narita, Japan. She is currently in quarantine, as is Leanne Wong, a fellow alternate and training mate who was deemed a close contact.

“The entire delegation continues to be vigilant and will maintain strict protocols while they are in Tokyo,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement Monday.

The team’s decision to room in a hotel comes amid a disconcerting rise in COVID-19 cases with the surging Delta variant. As of Monday evening, 71 COVID-19 cases have been connected to the Games, including several permeating the Olympic Village. On Tuesday, Tokyo reported more than 1,300 COVID-19 cases, 550 more than the previous week’s total.

The US team is heavily favored to win its third straight Olympic title in Tokyo, led by the otherworldly Biles. All members of the team are vaccinated.

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