Kara Eaker’s Parents, University Of Utah Coach React To Positive COVID-19 Test
TOKYO — A breakthrough COVID-19 case caused some heartbreak Monday for a Utah Olympian.
Kara Eaker, a University of Utah red rock gymnast, tested positive in Japan.
She’s okay and not showing symptoms, from what her parents have reported.
JUST IN: (@AP) — American alternate on women's gymnastics Olympic team has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been put in isolation.
— KSL 5 TV (@KSL5TV) July 19, 2021
As of Monday night, there’s only one other gymnast that is quarantining — LeeAnne Wong, who is also an alternate with Eaker.
She’s also A-symptomatic, though she hasn’t had the COVID-19 vaccine.
Now, it’s a wait and see game to see who else might possibly test positive.
USA Gymnasts are titans in their sport.
Kara Eaker testing positive sent fans into a panic, worried that the whole team could fall. But Team USA said star competitors like Simone Biles, and other Utah Red Rock — MyKayla Skinner, are practicing at a different facility.
“Honestly, just disappointed,” said Kara’s Dad, Mark Eaker. “I feel bad for her because she has trained most of her life for this.”
No one has shown more sympathy for Eaker than her parents, who are watching all of this unfold tens of thousands miles away from their daughter.
“I mean, all we can hope for now is that she never does get any symptoms, that it is mild,” said Mark.
“We’re trying our best not to let her get worried, so that is our focus right now,” said Katherine Eaker, Kara’s mom. “She is feeling fine. She is just pent up.
Gymnastic events kick off with the artistic qualifier on July 25th.
Eaker’s University of Utah coach, Tom Farden, issued a statement Monday afternoon:
“We are devastated and heartbroken for Kara as she worked extremely hard to become a part of Team USA in Tokyo. Unfortunately, the virus is still very present and can affect fully vaccinated individuals. We will support her in any capacity she may need with the many resources we have here at Utah. Our entire community is behind her through this difficult time and wish her a speedy recovery.”
Our hearts go out to Kara & her family ❤️ pic.twitter.com/jRuonL9oje
— Utah Gymnastics (@UtahGymnastics) July 19, 2021
Before Eaker left for Tokyo, KSL-TV’s Shara Park sat down with Coach Farden.
He spoke about Kara as a gymnast and what she brought to the USA team as an alternate.
“Kara Aker is one of the most artistic athletes to come through the US in a long time,” said Farden “She is poetry in motion.”
“She is somebody who does fierce gymnastics when she’s on fire and she wants something. You know, she’s somebody who I watch and I step back and I go, ‘Hmm, she’s fierce,’” he added.
“Okay, for her, we talked about her finesse. When you see her on the beam, it is, it is just beauty. Is that her skill?” Park asked Farden.
“She’s somebody who could be plugged in on floor on balance beam, and to be honest with you, her vaulting bars — I think bars is incredible and her vault is not far behind on the on the world stage,” said Farden.