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A Dutch Rower Competed At The Olympics, Then Tested Positive For Coronavirus

The Dutch Olympic team, shown here during the Opening Ceremony on Friday, has had three athletes test positive for coronavirus at the Games.
David J. Phillip
The Dutch Olympic team, shown here during the Opening Ceremony on Friday, has had three athletes test positive for coronavirus at the Games.

A Dutch rower has become the first athlete at the Tokyo Olympics to receive a positive coronavirus test after they competed in their event.

Finn Florijn, a 21-year-old vaccinated Dutch rower, tested positive after his Olympic debut in the men's single sculls race. He finished fourth in his heat and was scheduled to row again on Saturday, but now he's out of the competition and isolated for 10 days.

"I wasn't completely satisfied with my race yet. But I was hopeful to improve in the rematch. Now it's over in an instant," the athlete said in a statement.

Florijn is the son of a two-time gold medalist in crew and has said that he aspires to win more medals than his father, Ronald. Those dreams will now need to wait until a future Olympics, if he can qualify again.

Just one day after the official start of the Games, at least 12 athletes who came to Japan for the Olympics have tested positive for coronavirus, including U.S. beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb and U.S. gymnastics alternate Kara Eaker.

Dutch skateboarder Candy Jacobs, who had a positive coronavirus test prior to competition, has been posting on Instagram from isolation.

"I don't even know what to say. It's the weirdest situation I could possibly, possibly be in at the moment," she said. "All my friends being at the Olympic Village. It's so close, but I can't see them."

"I just want to let you know that I'm doing good," Jacobs added. "My heart still hurts, but I'll definitely get through it."

A third Dutch athlete and a staff member of the rowing team have also tested positive. A statement from Team Netherlands officials said they believe the infections may have originated on their flight. The head of the Dutch team expressed devastation in a statement, saying, "We have no words."

The positive tests have raised alarm among other athletes desperate to stay healthy and compete.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.
Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.
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