One in all Staff USA’s premier swimmers is heading to the Tokyo Olympics with out being vaccinated.
Michael Andrew, the 2016 world champion within the 100-meter particular person medley who just lately flirted with the 200-meter world document final month, has not obtained the COVID-19 vaccine. Throughout a USA Swimming media name on Thursday, Andrew, 22, conceded that he is not going to be vaccinated within the “distant future.”
“My cause behind it’s, for one, it was sort of a final second, I didn’t wish to put something in my physique that I didn’t understand how I might probably react to,” Andrew mentioned. “As an athlete on the elite stage, the whole lot you do may be very calculated and understood. For me, within the coaching cycle, particularly main as much as trials, I didn’t wish to danger any days out. There have been intervals the place, you’re taking a vaccine, you need to cope with some days off.”
Andrew’s feedback come within the wake of escalating concern over the COVID-19 Delta variant, which has triggered a state of emergency in Tokyo forward of the fast-approaching Video games. Almost the whole lot of the Olympics can be held beneath emergency tips, whereas followers can be barred from attending.
There is no such thing as a vaccine mandate for Olympic athletes. A constructive take a look at would result in Andrew’s elimination from the Video games, whereas an in depth contact with an contaminated particular person would necessitate a quarantine that might influence his coaching and competitors.
Andrew expressed confidence within the current protocol to make sure his security.
“USA Swimming and all of us right here have been by means of a really strict protocol with a number of testing, masks, socially distant, clearly staying away from crowds, the whole lot like that,” he mentioned. “And going into Tokyo, the identical factor, with testing daily. So we really feel very protected and guarded, realizing that we’re minimizing danger as a lot as doable.”
In his first Olympics, Andrew can be representing the U.S. within the 100-meter breaststroke, 200-meter particular person medley and 50-meter freestyle.
Although not the one unvaccinated athlete destined for Tokyo, Andrew is within the minority. Final month, USA Swimming President and CEO Tim Hinchey estimated that “round 90 %” of the U.S. nationwide group had been vaccinated.