“It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future. I want to wish Team USA best of luck and a safe games for every Olympian and the entire Olympic family,” Gauff wrote in the statement, along with the prayer hands and red, white, and blue heart emojis.
Gauff said that she is “disappointed” by the news of her positive test results. The 17-year-old athlete had qualified for the U.S. Olympic tennis team and was set to become the youngest Olympic tennis player since 2000. Gauff was thrilled to compete in her first Olympics, taking to social media a few weeks ago to express her excitement. Gauff was forced to withdraw, but other players like Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal have also pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics for other reasons.
Yet, Gauff is not the only player slated to compete in the 2020 Olympics who has tested positive for COVID-19 — according to The New York Times, more than two dozen athletes, coaches, referees, and other officials have tested positive for the coronavirus, including Kara Eaker, an alternate on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, and Katie Lou Samuelson, a member of the U.S. 3×3 women’s basketball team.
The Tokyo Olympics were originally set to take place last summer but were delayed a year due to the pandemic. The news of both Gauff and Eaker’s positive results comes only days ahead of the commencement of the games, and amidst controversy over the games being held during an ongoing global pandemic. Earlier this month, Olympic organizers banned spectators from its Tokyo-based events in efforts to decrease the spread of infection and stated they would make decisions regarding spectators for venues outside of the nation’s capital based on the local situation. On July 12, Tokyo officially entered its fourth COVID-19 state of emergency.
The 2020 summer Olympics is currently scheduled to commence on July 23.
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