U.S. Senator Says Having COVID Shouldn’t Disqualify Olympic Athlete

(FreedomBeacon.com)- Last week, US Olympic pole vaulter Sam Kendricks pulled out of the Toyko games after testing positive for COVID-19. And in a speech from the Senate floor last Thursday, Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker argued that Kendricks’ positive COVID test should not have disqualified him from competing in the Olympics.

Calling his results “almost certainly a false positive,” Wicker said that this was an injustice that the Olympic Committee could rectify.

Kendrick, a former University of Mississippi athlete before launching his professional career, won the 2016 US Olympic trials and took the bronze medal in Rio. Calling Kendricks an “Olympic Champion from the state of Mississippi,” Wicker said that the pole vaulter was poised to win the gold in Tokyo.

Kendricks, who already previously contracted COVID-19, tested positive on July 28 after he had tested negative for COVID in three previous tests. Wicker believes that given his recovery from the virus, along with the previous negative test results, the positive test must have been a “false negative.”

However, according to the rules set up by the International Olympic Committee, Kendricks’ positive test immediately disqualified him from competing. The Olympics require a six-day quarantine after a positive COVID test during which the athlete must test negative twice before being released from quarantine.

In his speech, Wicker pointed out that a follow-up test administered “according to US Olympic standards” show that Kendricks tested negative for COVID-19.

Wicker called for Kendricks to be allowed to compete in last Friday’s competition. He demanded that the Olympic Committee do another COVID test before Friday which Wicker believes would show Kendricks is not infected with the virus.

It didn’t happen.

Friday’s competition went off without Sam Kendricks, and he was officially eliminated from competition. Alternate US pole vaulter Matt Ludwig flew to Tokyo the same day as Kendricks’ positive COVID test and took his place on the US team.

With the odds-on favorite out of competition, the gold medal went to Swedish pole vaulter Armand “Mondo” Duplantis, who beat out American Chris Nilsen.

Nilsen finished with the silver medal.

Kendricks is expected to be out of quarantine this week provided he receives two back-to-back negative COVID tests.