TOKYO — American pole vaulter and reigning world champion Sam Kendricks will miss the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed in a statement Thursday.
“In alignment with local rules and protocols, he has been transferred to a hotel to be placed in isolation and is being supported by the USATF and USOPC staff,” the organization wrote on social media. “Sam is an incredible and accomplished member of Team USA and his presence will be missed. Out of respect for his privacy, we cannot provide more information at this time.”
Kendricks’ father and longtime coach, Scott Kendricks, wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post that his son “feels fine and has no symptoms.”
Kendricks, 28, won bronze in the pole vault at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and was expected to contend for another medal in Tokyo. He is the reigning world champion in the event, though Mondo Duplantis of Sweden has since broken the world record and established himself as the favorite.
Widely known as one of the most gregarious field athletes on Team USA, Kendricks has been a staple on the competitive circuit since his days at Ole Miss, where he won a pair of NCAA outdoor national titles in 2013 and 2014. He is also a member of the U.S. Army Reserve.
Kendricks becomes the latest Team USA athlete to be ruled out of the Games due to COVID-19. Beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb was pulled from competition following a positive test after his arrival in Japan, while Kara Eaker – an alternate on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team – also tested positive while in-country. Several other prominent athletes, including tennis player Coco Gauff, did not travel to Tokyo after testing positive for COVID-19 prior to departure.