U.S. pole vaulter Sam Kendricks tests positive, out of Olympics

7/29/2021 2:19:54 PM EST

Two-time world pole vault champion Sam Kendricks tested positive for COVID-19 and will not compete for the United States at the Tokyo Olympics.

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee confirmed the positive test Thursday, adding Kendricks was in isolation at a local hotel.

"Sam is an incredible and accomplished member of Team USA and his presence will be missed," the committee said in a statement. "Out of respect for his privacy, we cannot provide more information at this time."

Kendricks, 28, won the bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and was considered a gold medal contender. The Mississippi resident won world titles in 2017 and 2019.

His personal best is 6.06 meters -- a little more than 19 1/2 feet -- which set the American record in July 2019.

No American has won back-to-back medals in the pole vault in Olympics competition since Bob Seagren in 1968 and 1972.

Kendricks' positive test comes as Tokyo is battling a surge in COVID-19 cases and is under a state of emergency. The host city recorded 3,177 new cases on Wednesday, which was a record daily high for the second consecutive day. A government official said the number of daily cases is expected to grow.

Olympics organizers said Wednesday the number of COVID-19 cases directly related to the Games had reached 169 since July 1. No spectators are allowed at most events to help slow the spread of the virus.

"As a city resident myself and as an organizer, my heart hurts that case numbers are rising," Tokyo Olympics spokesperson Masa Takaya said at a news conference.

Pole vault qualification begins Friday.

--Field Level Media

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