Pole vault world champ Sam Kendricks misses Games after Covid positive

The last man to beat Mondo Duplantis will not have the chance to improve on his bronze from Rio 2016 as he cannot take another test until after the competition.

Picture by 2020 Getty Images

Two-time reigning pole vault world champion Sam Kendricks has been ruled out of Tokyo 2020 after testing positive for Covid.

The news was reported by his father and coach, Scott, on social media on Thursday (29 July).

He said, “Sam isn’t sick and we aren’t worried about him. The testing system is very rigid over there. The Japanese officials won’t allow for another PCR test for six days so the competition will be over.”

It means the popular American won’t be able to add to his Olympic bronze medal from Rio 2016.

Kendricks is the only man to beat Mondo Duplantis in the last two years, first at the 2019 Zurich Diamond League and then at the World Championships later that year in Doha.

After the Swede went the whole of 2020 unbeaten, including breaking the world record twice, Kendricks ended that winning streak in wet and windy conditions at May's Gateshead Diamond League.

Duplantis was shocked when he heard the news.

"I don't really know that much about the situation, it's just very scary," says Duplantis.

"As far as an hour ago I was still preparing myself for a big battle with Sam. He's one of my main rivals, and somebody who was definitely going to push me in the final."

"I'm kind of shocked by this kind of spin on it. It's hard to explain the feeling."

Pole vault qualification takes place on Monday (2 August) with the final a day later.