One of the social media sensations of the Rio Olympics won’t be competing in Tokyo after Namibia’s Dan Craven tested positive for COVID-19 in Spain, where the former professional cyclist lives with his family.
Even more devastating was the timing of it.
Craven told The Namibian newspaper that he had been trying to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through Spain’s national health care system, “but the bureaucratic system to get registered has just been crazy.”
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“Two hours after I tested positive,” Craven said, “I got a phone call saying I can come in for my vaccine.”
The tall, lanky rider with the bushy red beard said on his Instagram page that he caught the virus on a training ride with three other people.
He was supposed to have the single starting spot for Namibia, where he was born, but tested positive in a pre-event test and will be replaced in Saturday’s race to Fuji International Speedway by Tristan de Lange.
“For more than three years I have been plotting, planning, training and preparing for the Tokyo Olympics,” said Craven, who competed in the 2012 and 2016 Games.
“I may no longer be on a pro team and my training was anything but smooth in the last few months but the combined effort to get so far has been enormous. And it’s all gone with one positive test.”
The 38-year-old Craven, who moved to Europe to pursue a cycling career in 2005, became a sensation at the Rio Games first for his beard and then for the time trial. He was chosen to fill an unexpected starting spot but didn’t have a proper time trial bike, so he simply rode his road bike to a predictably dismal – if entertaining – result.
Craven’s positive test comes after four more residents of the Olympic Village, including two athletes, tested positive for COVID-19 today. A total of 91 people accredited for the Tokyo Games have tested positive since the beginning of July.
Skateboarder Candy Jacobs of the Netherlands and table tennis player Pavel Sirucek of the Czech Republic tested positive and had to leave the village to enter a quarantine hotel.
Two additional “games-concerned personnel” – a category that includes team coaches and officials – staying in the village overlooking Tokyo Bay tested positive.
The 91 cases do not include athletes who tested positive at home before their scheduled travel to Tokyo for events they will now miss.
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