American tennis star Cori "Coco" Gauff on Sunday announced she will be withdrawing from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after she tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement posted on her Twitter account, the 17-year-old announced she was diagnosed with coronavirus and has decided to tap out of the 12-member Team USA group.
Olympians Against The Coronavirus
"It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future," Cori wrote in the tweet. "I want to wish TEAM USA best of luck and a safe game for every Olympian and the entire Olympic family."
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) also responded to Cori's announcement, noting they are currently weighing whether they can replace her on the U.S. roster.
"We wish her the best as she deals with this unfortunate situation and hope to see her back on the courts very soon," the USTA said in a tweet.
Gauff is currently the 25th ranked woman in the world and was selected as the lead of the U.S. tennis team in what will be the first Olympics team in a quarter century without tennis superstars Serena and Venus Williams, according to a July statement published by the team.
More than 18,000 athletes, coaches, officials and personnel are expected to enter Tokyo, Japan, ahead of the Games. They all undergo a rigorous coronavirus protocol, including testing, before leaving their home country.
The Japanese government has also ordered participants to follow strict protocols to decrease the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak, according to NPR.
Surge of Infections
But despite the preventive measures, concern is growing as health officials have recorded 55 confirmed cases involving Olympic officials and contractors. On Sunday, organizers have confirmed that three athletes have tested positive for COVID-19.
While organizers for the Tokyo Olympics did not disclose the identities of the athletes who tested positive for COVID-19, officials for the South African Football Association revealed that footballers Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi were diagnosed with coronavirus.
The whole team has been placed under quarantine until they are cleared to train. Monyane and Mahlatsi are the first athletes to have tested positive in the Olympic Village, according to the association's statement.
A third athlete was later revealed to have tested positive. It is unclear who the athlete is, but organizers noted that the patient is "non-Japanese." The athlete was not living in the village at the time of diagnosis.
As of Friday, over 15,000 people with connections to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have entered Japan. The Olympic Village, which contains 21 residential buildings, are expected to house more than 11,000 athletes.
Organizers have put up signs in the Olympic Village that reminded athletes to wear face masks and observe social distancing protocols to curb the spread of the virus. Any athlete who tests positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed from competing at the Games. People who are infected with coronavirus will also undergo contact tracing, as reported by CNN.