At least five competitors at this weekend’s U.S. Figure Skating Championships have tested positive for COVID-19.
Alysa Liu is the biggest name so far to test positive. The 16-year-old star dropped out of the competition Friday. Liu placed third in the women’s short program Thursday night before testing positive Friday morning.
Two-time U.S. champion Liu is arguably Team USA’s biggest hope in placing high at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The USA figure skating team is expected to be set following the championships, which will wrap up Sunday evening in Nashville, Tenn.
Alysa Liu posted a statement on her Instagram story about her positive COVID test and her withdrawal from the free skate. #ToyotaUSChamps22 #USChamps22 https://t.co/z5BHTGhZ4I pic.twitter.com/WYnSvwnb4i— FigureSkatersOnline (@fsonline) January 7, 2022
Here is how Liu and other skaters who test positive for COVID-19 can still make the team.
How can Alysa Liu, other skaters who test positive still make US Olympic team?
Any skater who tests positive this weekend can still petition to be on the 2022 Olympic team. Team USA is decided based on the performances of the skaters from the past two years, so the U.S. Figure Skating Championships do not solely determine who makes the Olympic team, although they do play a big part.
Liu, for example, has won the last two U.S. championships, so that will help when she argues her case. Liu’s agent, Yuki Saegusa confirmed to USA Today that Liu will petition to be added to the team.
Team USA’s roster has 16 spots: three for men’s skaters, three for women’s skaters, six for ice dance teams and four for pairs. All of these spots still need to be filled.
Can COVID-19-positive skaters still go to the Olympics?
Vaccinated athletes must complete two negative PCR tests within 96 hours of their flight to Beijing before they can be cleared to compete in the Winter Games, according to the Olympics' official website. Competitors who have had COVID-19 before must additionally fill out a medical certificate detailing their infection and recovery dates. This certificate must be sent to the Olympic organizers at least eight working days before they leave.
Any competitors who tested positive within 30 days must also take two more PCR tests 24 hours apart from recovery. Any skaters who test positive this weekend will have to complete this extra step.
The 2022 Winter Olympics begin Friday, Feb. 4.