World champion pole-vaulter Sam Kendricks tests positive for coronavirus

Credit: AP

American pole-vaulter Sam Kendricks has been ruled out of the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for coronavirus.

Kendricks, the reigning world champion who won bronze at the Rio Games in 2016, has left the Olympic Village and been transferred to a quarantine facility in the Japanese capital.

The news temporarily forced Australia's entire track and field team to isolate as close contacts, though all are now expected to compete as normal after tests returned a negative result.

The United States Olympic Committee said in a statement: “The health and safety of our athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority. We are saddened to confirm that Sam Kendricks tested positive for Covid-19 and will not compete in the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

“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.

“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.”

Sam Kendricks was one of the favourites for gold after his world championship win. Credit: AP

As a result, members of the Australian track and field team had been placed in isolation as close contacts - just a day before the athletics events begin.

The Australian Olympics Committee said it was a precautionary measure after three members, who are all vaccinated, self-reported when hearing the news.

A total of 54 members of the track and field team (41 athletes and 13 officials) were given permission to leave after spending a little over two hours in their rooms.

The three team members are still in isolation, but will be allowed to resume training under strict conditions that limit contact with others and are expected to compete as planned.

Kendricks is the latest American athlete to test positive in Tokyo, after beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb and gymnastics alternate Kara Eaker.

Meanwhile, rival pole-vaulter German Chiaraviglio from Argentina confirmed he has also tested positive.

He wrote on Instagram: "Tokyo is over for me."

Officials confirmed on Friday that three athletes are among the 24 positive tests recorded among Olympic-related personnel, taking the total number affected since July 1 to 198.