Kohei Uchimura, Olympic all-around champion, tests positive for coronavirus
Kohei Uchimura, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic all-around champion from Japan, tested positive for the coronavirus and was asymptomatic as of Thursday, according to reports quoting the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) president.
Uchimura was in “very stable condition,” FIG President Morinari Watanabe said, according to the reports.
Uchimura, who won all eight Olympic and world all-around titles from 2009-16, was due to headline a return-to-competition international meet among Japan, China, Russia and the U.S. in Tokyo next weekend.
Uchimura could still compete if retests next Wednesday and Thursday are negative, according to Reuters.
“At this point it’s just Uchimura. If we find out it’s spread through the rest of the team, at that point they [Japan] might pull out,” Watanabe said, according to Reuters.
The Friendship and Solidarity Competition airs live on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA on Nov. 7 at 11 p.m. ET. Other headliners include 2018 and 2019 World all-around champions Artur Dalaloyan and Nikita Nagornyy of Russia and 2017 U.S. all-around champion Yul Moldauer.
The women’s lineup includes 2019 World all-around bronze medalist Angelina Melnikova of Russia and Asuka Teramoto, Japan’s top all-arounder at last year’s worlds in 13th place.
Uchimura, 31, already withdrew from consideration for the Japanese team-event roster of four for the Tokyo Games. Instead, he hopes to qualify for his fourth Olympics in individual events only, focusing on high bar rather than the all-around.
Outside of the four-person team event, a nation can potentially qualify fifth and sixth spots for individual events only.
Japan is likely to qualify those two extra spots to give Uchimura a chance of being chosen for Tokyo, where he would be one the biggest stars for the Olympic host nation across all sports. Even if he competes in just one of the eight men’s gymnastics medal finals.
Olympic history is dotted by athletes who made one last bid to compete in a home Games at or near the end of their careers.
Most recently, weightlifter Pyrros Dimas in 2004 (bronze), diver Guo Jingjing and gymnast Yang Wei in 2008 (each double gold), cyclist Chris Hoy in 2012 (double gold) and swimmer Cesar Cielo in 2016 (failed to qualify).
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