Olympic snowboarding medalist tests positive for COVID after arriving in China

Zan Kosir
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Žan Košir, a three-time Olympic snowboarding medalist and one of Slovenia’s Opening Ceremony flag bearers, tested positive for the coronavirus without symptoms after arriving in China on Thursday, according to the Slovenian Olympic Committee.

Košir, 37, is isolating until producing two negative PCR tests at least 24 hours apart while symptom-free, per the Beijing Olympic playbook.

Košir was selected to carry Slovenia’s flag into the Feb. 4 Opening Ceremony, along with Alpine skier Ilka Stuhec.

His event, the parallel giant slalom, is Feb. 8.

Košir won a silver or bronze medal in the last three Olympic parallel snowboarding events — the slalom and giant slalom in 2014 and the giant slalom in 2018. The slalom was only on the Olympic program in 2014.

Košir was fourth in last season’s World Cup standings and has a best World Cup finish of eighth this season.

In China, he can become the oldest Olympic snowboarding medalist. He shares the record of three Olympic snowboarding medals with Americans Shaun WhiteJamie Anderson and the retired Kelly Clark, according to Olympedia.org.

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In a first, an Olympics with snowboarding will not include Jasey-Jay Anderson

Snowboard - Men's Parallel Giant Slalom - Day 15
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Canadian Jasey-Jay Anderson competed in the very first Olympic snowboarding event in 1998. He did so again in 2002, 2006, 2010 (winning gold), 2014 and 2018.

But, for the first time in Olympic history, snowboarding events will be held, and Anderson will not be one of the competitors in Beijing next month.

Anderson, now 46 years old, was not on the Canadian Olympic snowboarding roster announced Wednesday.

Though Canada had the option to send three men to the Olympics in parallel giant slalom, it named one: Arnaud Gaudet, its highest-ranked man in the event this season.

Anderson is the only Canadian other than Gaudet to earn World Cup points in the parallel events this season. His best finish was 27th, but he did not meet Canada’s minimum performance criteria for Olympic selection.

So Anderson’s bid to stay the solo leader in Olympic snowboarding appearances ends. Italian Roland Fischnaller and Japanese Tomoka Takeuchi are set to tie Anderson’s record six Olympics in the sport, according to Olympedia.org.

Anderson, though, should remain the oldest male Olympic snowboarder in history from his participation in 2018.

Meanwhile, it appears 48-year-old Austrian Claudia Riegler will not be going to the Olympics to break her own overall Olympic age record for a snowboarder.

Riegler, who also races parallel giant slalom, has the results to make Austria’s team, but the federation returned a quota spot that could have gone to her.

Riegler chose not to get vaccinated for the coronavirus, and Austria requires it for the Beijing Games, according to Krone.

Beijing organizers allow unvaccinated athletes to compete, should they first quarantine upon arrival in China for 21 days.

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Olympic snowboarding champion chooses Winter Games quarantine over vaccine

PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games
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BERN, Switzerland — Olympic snowboard champion Patrizia Kummer will head to the Beijing Games early to spend three weeks in quarantine because she isn’t vaccinated against the coronavirus, she said Tuesday.

Chinese authorities require unvaccinated Olympians to enter quarantine upon arrival if they don’t have a valid medical exemption. Kummer, a Swiss snowboarder who won gold in the parallel giant slalom at the 2014 Sochi Games, is scheduled to arrive this week. The Olympics start on Feb. 4.

“After my personal decision not to be vaccinated, quarantine is the logical consequence,” Kummer said in a statement issued by Swiss Ski. “I respect the regulations of the authorities and the (International Olympic Committee).”

Kummer doesn’t yet have a confirmed spot on the Swiss Olympic roster, but Swiss Ski said she meets its selection criteria. She is ranked 17th in the slalom World Cup standings.

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