The Olympics are already being ravaged by COVID-19 – and some athletes are pulling out of the games

Two people wearing masks walk by a sign for the Tokyo Olympics.
There have been 61 COVID-19 cases linked to the Tokyo Olympics. James Matsumoto/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
  • Several Olympians have already tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving in Tokyo.
  • As of Monday, there were 61 positive cases tied to the Olympics.
  • The Olympics have been unpopular in Japan where residents doubt the games can be held safely.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Days before the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, several Olympians have already tested positive for COVID-19.

On Monday, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee confirmed that an alternate for the gymnastics team had tested positive and was placed in quarantine. Another gymnast was moved into isolation.

Additionally, on Sunday, three members of South Africa’s men’s soccer team tested positive – two players and one staff member. According to The Washington Post, two dozen people associated with the team are now in quarantine.

American tennis star Coco Gauff became one of the biggest-name athletes to drop out of the games altogether after testing positive for COVID-19.

Six British athletes are also self-isolating after coming in contact with someone who had COVID-19, but they have all tested negative so far.

Tokyo organizers said on Monday that there were 61 COVID-19 cases linked to the Olympics, with 33 of the cases coming in Japan while 28 are arriving guests.

However, organizers tried to stress that with over 20,000 people arriving in Tokyo for the games, the positivity rate was still low.

“Regarding this 28, we need to look at the 22,000 people arriving in Japan. Looking into the positive case rate, the number is nearly 0.1%,” the spokesperson said, via CNN.

Early COVID-19 cases are the latest hit to an unpopular Olympics

People hold signs to protest the Tokyo Olympics.
Protesters of the Tokyo Olympics. Yuri Kageyama/AP Images

A poll released Monday by Japanese newspaper Asahi found that 55% of respondents were opposed to the Olympics being held. Meanwhile, 68% of respondents doubted that organizers could control outbreaks of COVID-19.The Tokyo games are already slated to look different. Organizers barred spectators from nearly all events, including the Opening Ceremony on Friday.

Athletes are expected to bubble in the Olympic village, where there are several safety protocols in place, like only drinking alcohol in their rooms.

On Monday, Toyota announced it was pulling advertisements in Japan because of the unpopular nature of the games.

The specter of COVID-19 is unlikely to go away once the games get started. Events are not easily rescheduled, and it’s possible that big-name athletes could be forced to miss events if they test positive or come in contact with someone who did.