Photo: U.S. Ski & Snowboard
BEAVER CREEK, Colo. – A U.S. men’s ski racer tested positive for the coronavirus and was ruled out for the four World Cup speed races this week in Colorado.
International Ski Federation (FIS) race director Markus Waldner said Tuesday night at the team captains’ meeting that one American athlete has been isolated after turning in a positive result for COVID-19. Waldner did not reveal the person’s name.
U.S. ski team spokesperson Megan Harrod also would not say which member of the country’s roster was involved. A statement from the team’s high performance director, Gillian Bower, emailed by Harrod to The Associated Press, said the athlete is asymptomatic and in contact with the squad’s sports medicine director and internist.
Waldner said the U.S. racer was on a charter flight carrying athletes from various countries to Colorado from the previous stop on the men’s World Cup tour in Lake Louise, Alberta.
Waldner indicated there was concern about whether the World Cup events scheduled this week could be held, but said he received the “green light” to go ahead as planned. The schedule in Beaver Creek includes a training run Wednesday, followed by super-G races on Thursday and Friday, and downhills on Saturday and Sunday.
“U.S. Ski & Snowboard is cooperating with the local organizing committee and the FIS, following their guidelines and enhanced testing requirements in order to protect the team as well as the community hosting the event,” Bower said.
The other members of the U.S. team were being retested for COVID-19 and kept apart from other racers – on and off the course – until their results come back. That includes different housing, transportation and dining.
“We just had that one positive test,” said Maddy Green, who’s in charge of collecting and organizing COVID-19 information for the Beaver Creek races. “So we are doing everything to keep everybody safe and keep those teammates isolated.”
With the latest coronavirus variant, omicron, raising concerns around the world, COVID-19 – and athletes’ vaccination status – is looming as possibly a major issue ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which open on Feb. 4.
Two Swiss skiers who said they did not want to be vaccinated against the coronavirus missed the first men’s downhill race of the World Cup season in Lake Louise last weekend because Canada requires international visitors to have two doses to enter.
Swiss teammates Urs Kryenbühl and Ralph Weber posted social media messages saying they had recovered from COVID-19 infections and didn’t plan to get shots.