Mississippian Kendricks out of Olympics because of positive COVID test

Published 10:41 am Thursday, July 29, 2021

By Jake Thompson
The Oxford Eagle

OXFORD — Mississippi native Sam Kendricks is out of the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.

The news broke late Wednesday night after his father and coach, Scott Kendricks, announced Sam had a test return back positive and subsequently out of the men’s pole vault competition. NBC later confirmed the report toward the end of its primetime coverage on Wednesday.

According to his father, Kendricks is asymptomatic and does not feel sick. The Kendricks are from Oxford, and Sam competed at Oxford High School and later Ole Miss.

“Today in Tokyo, officials informed Sam that his daily test for COV 19 was positive. So he is out of the competition. He feels fine and has no symptoms,” Scott Kendrick’s Instagram post read.

The post was later deleted as there was discussion of a possible appeal taking place, but Kendricks was not able to take another test and his original positive test stood.

After testing positive, Kendricks was moved to a Tokyo hotel and was placed in isolation from the other athletes.

“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,” read a tweet by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee on Wednesday. “In alignment with local rules and protocols, he has been transferred to a hotel to be placed in isolation and is being supported by 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.”

More than 50 athletes and officials with the Australian track and field team were also briefly isolated in their rooms after “a brief casual contact” with Kendricks,” the Australian Olympic committee said.

The Australian Olympic committee said three of its athletes were still being kept isolated. They can still train, but away from other team members. The Australian Olympic committee said the three returned negative tests and would be tested daily. All three were vaccinated. The committee did not name them.

Another 41 Aussie athletes and 13 officials who were also initially isolated were allowed to return to their regular routines after about two hours. The committee says all athletes are expected to compete as planned. The track and field events begin Friday.

Kendricks qualified for his second consecutive Olympics after making his debut in the 2016 summer games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. He finished third and took home the bronze medal in 2016 and was looking to become the first American to win medals in the pole vault event in back-to-back Olympics since 1972.

Last week, Kendricks held an open workout at Bobby Holcomb Field on the Oxford Middle School campus for Oxford residents to attend. Following the open workout Kendricks took photos and thanked people for attending.

Oxford’s second Olympic athlete, Shelby McEwen, competes in the men’s high jump qualifying round on Thursday at 7 p.m.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest