Australian curlers Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt have been forced to call it quits on their Olympic dream after Gill returned a series of positive COVID-19 test results.
The duo, Australia’s first ever Olympic curling representatives, have forfeited their final two matches and Gill has been moved into an isolation hotel, with Australian officials looking to get them both out of China as soon as possible.
The pair did not manage to win a game in seven encounters after enduring a rocky start to their Olympic campaign together.
Gill tested positive for the virus on arrival in Beijing last week and was put into isolation until two subsequent negative tests cleared her to make her way to the Olympic village.
Australian Olympic Committee officials were able to argue that the positive result was the last traces of the virus after Gill contracted it in Canada last month. This allowed her to stay in competition and be managed as a “close contact”.
But in a statement released on Sunday, the AOC said testing throughout the week, performed in line with Olympic protocols, had toggled between positive and negative. Finally, consecutive positive results forced them to withdraw.
“Tahli and Dean have made Australian Winter Olympic history and there were just two matches left on their program. It’s very disappointing, but we are realistic about the rules and we have always accepted those rules,” chef de mission Geoff Lipshut said.
“Other countries have faced significant impacts – our focus has always been to keep our athletes in the competition.
“We made the case that Tahli was at the end of the infection cycle but further positive results early this morning ended our hopes. Rather than remain in isolation, we now have the option of returning Tahli and Dean home.