Greece has been forced to withdraw from the artistic swimming competition, as the entire 12 members of its team — including athletes and officials — have been quarantined outside of the Olympic Village following the Games’ first cluster infection, the Tokyo Organising Committee said Wednesday.

One of the Greek athletes tested positive Monday. Since then, three more athletes and one of the team officials have also tested positive, the Tokyo Organising Committee said. This marks the first time that the entire team of any nation has pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics in the middle of a competition, as artistic swimming events kicked off this week.

The outbreak also marks a big blow for Greece. According to reports from Greece, its star swimmer Evangelia Platanioti tested positive for COVID-19 last month. But the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) said she had since recovered and arrived in Tokyo on Sunday. She and Evangelia Papazoglou participated in the duet free routine artistic swimming qualifying event on Monday but had to give up on participating in the duet technical routine the following day.

The HOC has announced it will withdraw from the team artistic competition that is slated to kick off Friday.

“Of the seven who tested negative, some have already been designated as close contacts, while the status of others is still to be determined,” Tokyo 2020 spokesperson Masa Takaya told reporters Wednesday.

Following the discovery, the HOC agreed with a proposal by the organizing committee that the seven individuals should immediately be transferred to a facility outside the Olympic Village, and all of them moved to the facility Tuesday, Takaya added.

“They have made huge efforts and actually came to Japan under difficult circumstances,” Takaya said. “And I imagine that the Greek people had high expectations for these athletes, so it is painful to think about them. We pray they will recover as soon as possible.”

The organizing committee reported 29 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, including two “Games-concerned personnel,” 19 contractors, four volunteers and the four athletes. That raised the total number of positive cases since the beginning of July to 327.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.