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Kara Eaker's coaches 'blindsided' by positive COVID-19 test

Alternate on U.S. Olympic Women's Gymnastic Team
Al Fong
Posted at 4:25 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-19 19:38:55-04

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Kara Eaker and Leanne Wong's coaches are in disbelief after learning Eaker tested positive for COVID-19.

“A complete surprise. When we found out actually about over almost two days ago, when one of the morning tests showed positive," Al Fong, Eaker and Wong's coach, said.

Fong and his wife Armine, who also helped coach the women at GAGE Center in Blue Springs, are in Tokyo with the athletes.

Everything was going great for them in Japan, but now time has stopped.

"Training has been amazing, that the training that we had two days, for this whole week, training extremely well and right on top of her [Eaker's] game," Fong said. "Peaking like you know you should at the Olympic Games, so it blindsided us completely."

Eaker and Wong are both alternates for the U.S. Olympic Women's Gymnastic Team. KSHB 41 News learned Monday morning that Eaker had tested positive for the virus. Wong, who is unvaccinated, is now in quarantine.

Wong's family said she is doing fine and tested negative.

“I mean, she wasn't any closer than any of the other gymnasts and she was further away than sometimes even the coaches, so [this] is a complete shock," Fong said about Wong.

The question now is what happens to the six girls who are set to compete. Fong said those girls and the alternates were separated from each other at all times.

“Even on the bus going to and from the gym, the six athletes stayed in the front of the bus and the replacement athletes stayed in the back," Fong said.

He said they did everything possible to try to prevent a positive COVID-19 test.

“We did everything we could, and we were very, very proud of the fact that we were we're here at the Olympics and we made this squad and that were part of this whole system," Fong said.

Fong said now he's worried for other teams, as the games don't start for a few more days.

“It's just as a-typical and you know and, here's the sad part, it's not over," Fong said. "I mean, just not over because look how it took us by surprise that it happened to Kara. It could easily happen to the other athletes as well."

Fong said they are tested for COVID-19 and have their temperatures checked multiple times a day. They also haven't been anywhere besides the hotel and the gym.

So they have no clue how Eaker could have contracted the virus.