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Australia’s Olympic skateboarding dreams shredded due to COVID

The Tokyo dreams of Australian Olympic skateboarding hopefuls have been crushed by a return of three positive coronavirus tests.

A contingent of 11 Australian skateboarders flew to the US earlier this month to participate in an Olympic skateboarding qualifier event, the Dew Tour, in Iowa.

However, after three of the group tested positive for coronavirus, the entire team was disqualified because they were close contacts.

Image: Instagram / charlotte_heath07

13-year-old Charlotte Heath from Melbourne was one of the skateboarders to test positive for the virus, along with one other athlete and their coach.

Heath took to Instagram to announce the disappointing news. However, she courageously kept a positive attitude, noting that she at least “got to travel to America and go to all the sick skateparks”.

The disqualification of the Australian team was confirmed on Sunday in a statement by the President of Skate Australia, Karen Doyle.

Doyle noted that the health of the three who had tested positive was being monitored daily, and that they had been completely isolated from the other team members.

 

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Poppy Olsen, a team member who thankfully didn’t contract the virus, assured RN Breakfast that “everyone’s doing alright, our coach is OK, he’s got some cold and flu-like symptoms but he’s doing alright and he’s being monitored“.

Olsen also mentioned that most team members received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine before leaving Australia, and plan to get a second dose before returning.

The Tokyo Olympics is set to be the first Olympics to hold skateboarding events, with two different forms of skating being judged – ‘Park’ and ‘Street’.

The park event will occur in a hollowed-out skate park course, inspired by the drained swimming pools that skaters in LA traditionally used during the sport’s emergence.

The curved inclines of the park course mean Olympic skaters will be able to reach huge heights and have freedom of movement.

On the other hand, the street course will look a lot more like the urban sites that skateboarding often takes place in today, with obstacles that include handrails, stairs, and benches.

The two athletes who tested positive for the virus were park skaters, and the Dew Tour was, unfortunately, the final opportunity for park skaters to qualify for the Olympics.

 

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Luckily, the Iowa event was not our Australian skateboarders’ only chance to qualify for the Olympics.

Australian street skater Hayley Wilson has secured a spot in the Tokyo Olympics thanks to her current ranking of 7th in the world for Women’s Skateboard Street.