US swimmer Michael Andrew outlines why he's skipping Covid vaccine before Tokyo Games

Andrew, 22, confirmed in a virtual press conference from Team USA's Hawaii training camp on Thursday that he had not been vaccinated and didn't plan to be.

Published: 10th July 2021 07:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th July 2021 07:03 PM   |  A+A-

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Organizing staff prepare a Paralympic swimming test event at the Tokyo Aquatics Center. (Photo | AP)


LOS ANGELES: Michael Andrew took an unconventional path to the Tokyo Games and the US swimmer won't be bowing to pressure to receive the Covid-19 vaccine before heading to the Olympics.

Andrew, 22, confirmed in a virtual press conference from Team USA's Hawaii training camp on Thursday that he had not been vaccinated and didn't plan to be.

He had indicated the same stance at the US trials in Omaha, Nebraska, last month and didn't want to change course so close to the Games.

"I didn't want to put anything in my body that I didn’t know how I would potentially react to," said Andrew, who qualified for his first Olympics in the 50M freestyle, 100m breaststroke and 200m individual medley.

"As an athlete on the elite level, everything we do is very calculated. I didn't want to risk any days out (of training), because there are periods where, if you take the vaccine, you have to deal with some days off.”

Andrew's comments came on the same day Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo over rising coronavirus cases, prompting Olympics organizers to announce that almost all events would be held without any spectators.

Andrew and his family have taken a similarly unorthodox approach to his swimming career. The age-group sensation turned pro at 14 and trains using a race-paced concept that features much less training distance at race speed and doesn't include weight training.

Andrew said he would strictly adhere to all of the testing, masking and social distancing protocols required of Games competitors.

US men's head coach Dave Durden, declining to address Andrew's decision specifically, said he thought the rigorous protocols would keep all team members healthy.

"All of our athletes, in the community that we're in right now, we're being very conscious being very safe with how we're handling our teams, how we're going from place to place, how we're operating in our training camp environment, how we are effectively bubbling ourselves," Durden said from Hawaii.

"And that's probably the more important piece of this. Regardless of vaccinations or not vaccinated, it's what our attitudes and actions are."



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