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Mid-South olympian trying to stay positive after losing chance at Tokyo 2020 medal

Father-son duo key to Oxford pole vaulter Sam Kendricks’ Olympic success
Father-son duo key to Oxford pole vaulter Sam Kendricks’ Olympic success
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 5:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2021 at 4:47 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Olympian Sam Kendricks carried the dreams and support of the entire Mid-South with him to Tokyo, with an eye on Gold, after a parade in his hometown of Oxford earlier this month.

But now those dreams are dashed by a positive COVID-19 test.

“Despite having passed two at home and one in the airport on the way to Tokyo, I’m out,” Kendricks said on Instagram.

Sam Kendricks posted a video to Instagram Thursday from inside his quarantined hotel room in Tokyo.

He says he doesn’t have any symptoms and wants to have a second COVID-19 test for confirmation, but Olympic officials will only re-test him in six days per Olympic protocols.

That second test will come after the pole vaulting competition is over.

Kendricks even posted a video giving himself a COVID-19 test, similar to the tests issued by USA Track and Field.

That test came back negative.

“I have no recourse but to sit in isolation and watch the Olympics,” Kendricks said. “But I want you to know this, my team USA, you’re my team. I will always be rooting for the red white and blue. My men in the pole vault, you’re my friends, go have a great time, enjoy the Olympics.”

It’s a tough blow for the two-time World Champion and Rio bronze medalist as well as his family, who say they’re trying to stay positive.

Sam’s father and coach Scott Kendricks shared a message of his own on Instagram.

“I have been a big fan of the Olympics my whole life, but these athletes should be given a confirming test,” Scott Kendricks said. “One test, in my opinion with no symptoms is just not enough.”

Sam says if he cannot compete, he hopes another USA athlete will take his place.

“My friend, Matt Ludwig, fourth place in the United States Olympic trials, I would you would get on a place soon and come compete in my stead. Have a great day,” Kendricks said on Instagram.

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