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Oregon distance runner Cole Hocker headed to Olympics unvaccinated

ESPN

"I’m not really too worried about it, going in."

Posted: Jul 19, 2021 10:08 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2021 11:17 PM

EUGENE, Ore. — The Tokyo Olympics are just a few days away but coronavirus concerns continue to grow as athletes from around the world are set to converge in Japan. Cole Hocker, a star middle-distance runner from the University of Oregon, says he's going unvaccinated.

"I'm not really too worried about it going in," Hocker said in a press conference hosted by the University of Oregon on Monday.

Hocker joins a growing list of American Olympians going to the Summer Games unvaccinated. Swimmer Michael Andrew said he is not vaccinated either. Andrew qualified for three different swimming events.

The International Olympic Committee is not requiring Olympic competitors to be vaccinated before arriving in Tokyo.

The news comes after multiple American athletes have had to pull out of the 2020 Olympics because of positive coronavirus tests or due to health and safety protocols. Tennis star Coco Gauff is one of the most recent athletes to announce they tested positive and won't be attending the Olympic Games.

In addition, Tokyo Olympics organizers reported 71 people have now tested positive. The total includes 31 people among the tens of thousands of international guests expected to compete or work at the Games in Japan.

"I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for COVID and won't be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo,'' Gauff tweeted on Sunday. "It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future.''

Tokyo and Japan as a whole are dealing with a recent surge in coronavirus cases, prompting Olympic organizers to prohibit fans from evens within the capital and surrounding area. The most recent seven-day averages in Tokyo show over 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day.

According to USA Today, Oregon distance coach Ben Thomas said Hocker contracted COVID-19 earlier this year but didn't have any symptoms besides a headache for a few days.

Hocker's decision to not get vaccinated is one he is comfortable with heading into the Summer Games.

"I'm not vaccinated, but I feel content with the decision," Hocker said. "I'm interested to see how lockdown it is. I'm sure they'll take it pretty seriously considering the state of Japan right now. It's all new. I haven't been to an Olympic Village and seen what it's like in full effect. It's all going to be new and I'm just rolling with whatever it is."

The 2020 Summer Olympics are set to begin on Friday.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Sherman872
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