Unvaccinated American swimmer sparks controversy in Tokyo

TOKYO (AFP) – American swimmer Michael Andrew’s decision not to vaccinate against COVID-19 as he prepares to compete in the Olympics has sparked controversy.

On the other side of the discussion are former Olympic champion Maya DiRado and some American swimmers.

This week, Dirado posted a lengthy thread on Twitter, saying she was “disappointed” with Andrew’s decision and the reasons she gave to compete without a vaccination.

Earlier this month, Andrew revealed he was not immune, and gave the answer to a reporter.

The swimmer said, “The reason is because, in the first place, I got to this at the last minute and didn’t want to put anything on my body that I didn’t know how it would react.” Medal opportunity.

“As an elite athlete, everything we do is very calculated and thoughtful. For me, on the course, especially before the Olympics, I didn’t want to risk losing days. There were periods when someone had a vaccination and had to rest for a few days” .

But Andrew added that he also has no plans to vaccinate in the future.

“We feel safe and secure because we know we are minimizing the risks,” he said, after confirming that daily tests are taking place during the Olympics.

Tokyo Olympic organizers and the International Olympic Committee have abandoned making it mandatory to vaccinate athletes to compete. Just over 20% of Japan’s population has been vaccinated with all necessary doses.

The International Olympic Committee has reported 13 positive cases of infection among all athletes in Japan.

About 100 out of 613 US athletes in Tokyo lack a vaccine, the country’s chief medical officer for the Olympic and Paralympic Committee said Friday. Andrew is the only member of the US swimming team who has revealed that he has not been vaccinated.

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“The fact that Michael made a decision that creates even a little risk to his teammates to differentiate his own perception of luxury is frustrating me,” wrote Dirado, one of three athletes’ representatives on the federation’s board of directors. American swimming.

Derado retired after the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where he won four medals including two gold.

Former Olympic champion Anthony Ervin wrote to Dirado on Twitter. He told her Andrew contracted COVID-19 in December, “and therefore has a natural immunity.”

Andrew’s partner, Tom Shields, also criticized Derado.

“How much responsibility that is involved in embarrassing one of our Olympians on the eve of the competition,” Shields wrote on Twitter.

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