(AP) Olympic skeleton slider John Daly has tested positive for COVID-19, potentially complicating his chances of making the U.S. team for the Beijing Games.
Daly is not sure if he will be able to compete in the next World Cup race, which will be held in Igls, Austria on Friday. The United States primarily selects their Olympic team based on the international points standings, so missing a race would deprive Daly of the opportunity to add to his total.
“My goal right now is to heal, to regroup and come back with extreme focus” Daly said Tuesday. “I refuse to give up and I refuse to fail.”
Daly is expected to be tested again on Wednesday. There’s a chance he’ll be cleared in time to race this weekend, but he said he wasn’t too optimistic about it. If he can’t run this weekend, he will likely be off the ice until the weekend of December 3 in Altenberg, Germany.
“Everything happens for a reason,” said Daly. “Sometimes it’s to teach a lesson or an experience. Maybe it’s to see how willing you are to work towards a goal. Either way, making the 2022 Olympic squad will be a tough battle, but one I’m currently prepared for. “
He’s not the only slider facing a challenge right now.
International luge officials were working on Tuesday to determine how some sleds apparently got stranded during the shipping process from China – the site of last weekend’s first World Cup race at this circuit – in Sochi, India. Russia, the site of the next two races in this series.
It was not known exactly how many countries were running out of sleds, and at least one American sled was among those still in transit to Russia. Sharing sleds during practice this week and maybe even this weekend’s races is a possible short-term solution and not unprecedented, although it is not an ideal scenario for anyone.
This weekend’s World Cup skeleton races are Friday for men and women in Igls, followed by a two-man bobsleigh race on Saturday, followed by the women’s bobsleigh race and four-way competition on Sunday.
In Sochi, luge will have doubles and women’s races on Saturday, followed by the men’s race and a team relay on Sunday. The United States – who will be without slider Emily Sweeney for World Cup races in Russia – won silver in the season opener team relay in Yanqing, China last weekend . Sweeney is an active member of the United States military and she was not allowed to run in Russia due to travel restrictions imposed by the State Department.
As is the case with Daly, the missing races could put Sweeney at a disadvantage in his quest to make the Olympic team. USA Luge also uses the international points ranking in its qualification formula for Olympic teams.