(BEIJING) — The fear of testing positive for COVID is a constant stress hanging over athletes at the 2022 Winter Olympics, a fear realized for U.S. women’s bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor.
Meyers Taylor tested positive on day two after entering the country, which has forced her to isolate from her family and teammates while she quarantines.
The 37-year-old, who tested negative Wednesday, must test negative twice to return to the Olympic village.
“I was pretty shocked,” Meyers Taylor told ABC News Thursday. “We did everything we could to try and avoid it and still caught up to us anyways.”
The new mother is now isolated from her son, Nico, and her husband. The family traveled to China together for the Games.
Meyers Taylor said she can’t just focus on training while in isolation. She also needs to take care of her son, who was born in 2020 with Down syndrome and is still nursing.
“We FaceTime as much as we can and, you know, just trying to do everything we can to stay connected,” Meyers Taylor said.
Now that she has to isolate herself from her baby, she said she’s doing everything to make sure he’s OK. Team USA was able to find her a breast pump, and she said the hotel staff has been great at helping make milk deliveries.
Meyers Taylor said she’s thankful her husband is on the trip and can care for Nico while she isolates.
Being an Olympian and a mom takes a team, she said.
After arriving in the country with no problems, Meyers Taylor, her husband and son all tested positive. She said all are asymptomatic but have to quarantine separately in a Chinese isolation facility.
As Meyers Taylor waits out quarantine, she’s missing crucial training days ahead of her big competition; the first-ever running of the woman’s monobob. The three-time Olympian said she’s pumped for the new event.
“It feels like you’re flying. Like, it is just amazing and just the feeling of gravity, the feeling of pressure, the feeling of the wind rushing past you …” Meyers Taylor said. “It really does feel like you’re a superhero and the speed suits don’t hurt.”
As she trains in isolation, Meyers Taylor got an exercise bike dropped off at her hotel room to stay in shape. She said since her husband, who is also her physical trainer, is staying in an identical hotel room, he’s been able to devise a hotel workout plan for her to follow.
Meyers Taylor, who was selected as a flag bearer for Team USA at this year’s Winter Olympics, will not attend Friday’s Olympics Opening Ceremony because of COVID. Speed skater Brittany Bowe is set to replace Meyers Taylor at the ceremony.
“She was one of the first people to reach out to me after she learned I had COVID … that’s why sport is so important; you make relationships that last forever,” Meyers Taylor said.
Out of the 441 U.S. Olympic delegates in China, eight are in isolation, according to the International Olympic Committee.
Inside the Olympics closed loop, which separates athletes, team officials and members of the press from the rest of the Chinese population, athletes live under a daily regimen of temperature checks and COVID tests administered by workers dressed in full-body personal protective equipment.
First-time Olympians Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc told ABC News they felt safe practicing on the rink and were trying to focus on what was “within their control” despite the lingering COVID worries.
The two figure skaters made their debut on the ice Wednesday for their first practice on Beijing’s main rink.
Three thousand people will perform in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders Friday at the Opening Ceremony. There will be no official American delegation after the U.S. announced a diplomatic boycott of the games.
Jackie Chan carried the Olympic torch on top of the Great Wall of China on Thursday, as Beijing counted down the final day before the Games kick off.
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