Sam Kendricks, US pole vaulter who went viral during 2016 Olympics, withdraws from Tokyo over COVID

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Sam Kendricks, a world champion pole vaulter who garnered national attention at the 2016 Olympics when he stopped midstride and dropped his pole when he heard the national anthem being played, will be forced to miss the Tokyo Games after testing positive for coronavirus.

Kendricks’ father wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post his son had to withdraw from the Olympics. He added that his son had no symptoms but will be forced to miss the Games.

Kendricks had been placed in isolation at a hotel, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said.

“Sam is an incredible and accomplished member of Team USA and his presence will be missed,” the USOPC said in a statement. “Out of respect for his privacy, we cannot provide more information at this time.”

The 28-year-old took home the bronze in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 but was noted nationally for his maneuver during the Rio Games. According to “TODAY” at the time, he was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve.

He picked up a bronze medal in Rio and started a streak of medals that led him back to the Olympics.

He would win gold in the World Championships in 2017 and 2019 and a gold at the Continental Cup in 2018. He picked up a silver in 2018 in the World Indoor Championships.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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