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US pole vaulter Sam Kendricks out of Tokyo Olympics after positive COVID test

During the 2016 Olympics, Kendricks abruptly stopped midway through a qualifying run to stand at attention when he heard the national anthem play.

WASHINGTON — Sam Kendricks, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games for pole vault and became a viral star in the process, has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not compete in Tokyo. 

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee announced the news Wednesday and confirmed Kendricks will not be able to compete at the Olympics and has been placed in isolation.  

"Sam is an incredible and accomplished member of Team USA and his presence will be missed," the USOPC said. 

His father posted that Kendricks "feels fine and has no symptoms." 

After winning bronze in Rio, he was expected to be a medal contender in Tokyo when the track and field events got underway. 

Kendricks took gold at the last two world championships. He holds the American record at 19 feet, 10 ½ inches (6.06 meters).

A first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve, Kendricks abruptly stopped midway through a qualifying run during the 2016 Rio Olympics to stand at attention when he heard the national anthem start playing.

Sam Kendricks | National Anthem

Sam Kendricks, who represents the United States as a military man and an Olympic athlete, stops mid-run during the 2016 Olympic Games to stand at attention to our country's flag. #4thOfJuly

Posted by Team USA on Wednesday, July 4, 2018

He went on to win the bronze medal, which was the first for Team USA in the pole vault since the Athens 2004 Olympic Games

After the 2016 Olympics, he said he was proud “to represent the Americans on two fronts, as a military man and as a U.S. athlete.”

Following his positive COVID-19 test, USA Track & Field tweeted it was working on the "next steps to ensure the safety of the remainder of our delegation, and to offer support to Sam."

Credit: AP
Sam Kendricks, of the United States, celebrates after the the men's pole vault final at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

The Olympic Stadium in Tokyo will be open for the first time Thursday since the opening ceremony when qualifying rounds in track and field begin.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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