4 US Winter Olympic Athletes Quarantined After COVID-19 Exposure

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIMarch 20, 2020

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 15: Feature image of the Olympic logo during Medal Ceremony after Women's and Men's Mixed NOC 3-on-3 Gold Medal Game during day 6 of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics at Vaudoise Arena on January 15, 2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by RvS.Media/Robert Hradil/Getty Images)
RvS.Media/Robert Hradil/Getty Images

Four U.S. Winter Olympic athletes have been placed in quarantine after being exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Jonathan Finnoff, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee's chief medical officer, told reporters that one of the athletes subsequently developed symptoms and has been tested for the virus.

The chief medical officer also offered an update on the current situation: "We have a lot of procedures and guidelines in place. We've been working with local, state and federal officials in order to develop policies and procedures that we will follow if somebody does test positive for COVID-19."

The coronavirus pandemic has brought virtually all sport across the world to a halt, raising doubts over whether the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will go ahead as planned.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said the Games will go ahead as planned in July:

BBC Sport @BBCSport

"We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned." Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the Games will go ahead in July. 👉 https://t.co/KD8B7o3h97 https://t.co/Tnfmvl5s6v

However, the coronavirus pandemic means some Olympic qualifying events have had to be postponed, while some athletes have been unable to train because facilities are closed.

Spanish Olympic Committee president Alejandro Blanco has called on the Games to be postponed because "sportspeople cannot train" and to go ahead as planned "would result in unequal conditions," per Ed Aarons at the Guardian.

British world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson highlighted the difficulties she has faced and criticised the IOC's current stance:

KJT @JohnsonThompson

I understand that sport isn’t everything and there are more important issues sourrounding coronavirus but thought I would speak out purely on what my situation of it has been. Hope the UK, France and the rest of the world stay safe and look after each other in these crazy times❤️ https://t.co/0zxECDetpM

American long-distance runner Kara Goucher has said athletes are being put at risk:

Kara Goucher @karagoucher

Stop putting athletes at risk @Olympics @iocmedia! Athletes are humans, they get sick! Postpone so they can #ShelterAtHome w/o worrying about losing fitness to competitors! You are losing any credibility that you care about the wellness of athletes! Athletes over money please! https://t.co/sLqkrZCCNb

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are scheduled to start on July 24 and run until August 9.