Australian Olympic skier Katie Parker’s Olympic dream becomes a nightmare as she tests positive for Covid upon arrival in Beijing
By Melissa Woods For Australian Associated Press
Published: 19:51 GMT, 8 February 2022 | Updated: 19:51 GMT, 8 February 2022
Australia’s Katie Parker’s gamble with COVID-19 doesn’t appear to have paid off with the alpine skier testing positive on her arrival into Beijing for the Winter Olympics.
Parker has already undergone a second PCR test and is in isolation while she is scheduled for a third, with those results known Wednesday morning.
She’s due to compete in the slalom, which gets underway around lunchtime that day.
Australian skier Katie Parker is in isolation in Beijing after a positive COVID-19 test on arrival
Australian Olympic team chef de mission Geoff Lipshut says Parker hasn’t given up hope of making her Games debut.
‘Katie has always understood this was a possibility,’ Lipshut said.
‘We are doing all we can to give her the opportunity to compete but there’s a process to go through – we are still hopeful.
‘She is attempting to make her Olympic debut and she has earned her place on the team.’
Lipshut said that if Parker returned further positive results she would be unable to compete.
‘It will be impossible for her to compete in the women’s slalom – that is the unfortunate reality.
‘It is a risk she understood before travel.’
He said Parker may be forced into an isolation hotel as a result of the subsequent tests and the AOC would do its best to support her.
‘Our focus is ensuring she is well looked after,’ he said.
‘We will be keeping her and her support network fully informed.’
Parker already missed the giant slalom after she had to delay her planned flight from her US base.
She was unable to produce two negative tests within a 48-hour period, which is required by Games officials for entry into China and their Olympic bubble.
Based in Utah, Parker contracted the virus last month and hasn’t been able to train on the snow for the past two weeks.
Lipshut said the 23-year-old was concerned about her disrupted preparation, but was desperate to earn her Olympic stripes.
“That’s the only reason Katie is coming here – for that Olympic opportunity – because otherwise given the recent COVID infection and given the requirements here of testing she probably wouldn’t come,” he said.
The four-person alpine team is already without Madison Hoffman, who suffered a knee injury while competing last month.
The Olympic test regime has a lower threshold for a positive test than in Australia or the US.
Australian curler Tahli Gill, who had COVID-19 in December, continued to produce positive and negative results while in Beijing.
On Sunday she was initially banned from competing until AOC medical staff, including an infectious disease expert, and their own PCR testing in the village, produced evidence that she wasn’t contagious.
They convinced Games officials to allow her and mixed doubles partner Dean Hewitt to play in their final two matches which they won.
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