Local gymnast tests positive for COVID-19, was alternate on U.S. women’s gymnastics team

BLUE SPRINGS, MO (KCTV) — A local gymnast and alternate on the United States women’s gymnastics team has tested positive for COVID-19.

Sources tell KCTV5 News that Kansas City gymnast Leanne Wong has also been placed in quarantine due to her contact with Kara Eaker. As of this morning, however, Wong has passed all her COVID tests.

For Kara Eaker, her Olympic dream has come to an end. Her parents got the news late last night.

“We got a phone call saying she tested positive again and they did a secondary test after that and it was also positive,” said Mark Eaker. “So, it was pretty much confirmed that she’s got the COVID.”

The 18-year old Grain Valley High School graduate was immediately put in quarantine, but she was allowed to phone her mom and dad.

“She’s got no symptoms and she feels good,” Mark Eaker said. “She’s a little bored from sitting in her room.”

That’s tough, especially considering how excited Kara was about enjoying her Olympic experience.

“I was really looking forward to seeing the different culture and all the buildings, just seeing what Tokyo is like,” she said.

Her Gage Gymnastics teammate, Leanne Wong, has not been vaccinated.

KCTV5 asked her father, Dr. Marco Wong, if he was concerned about having his daughter in a COVID hotspot. He’d said, “No, I’m not worried. I think that there’s a lot of precautions; testing, retesting, social distancing, people wearing masks.”

But, Kara’s dad can’t help but worry about his daughter’s situation.

“Oh, I’m torn up,” he said. “Obviously, we’d like to be there to support her and make sure everything goes smoothly for her. My biggest concern–that I talked to USAG last night–is to make sure if they’re moving her to a different facility that’s set up in Japan to strictly dealing with COVID cases, I want her to be safe. I don’t want her sent over to some facility and forgotten about.”

Reaching the Olympics has been a lifelong goal for Eaker.

‘I’ve had that dream since I first came here,” Kara Eaker said. “As a little girl, I was like, ‘That would be so cool.’”

Kara’s coach Al Fong is in Tokyo. He says both Kara and Leanne have followed the COVID rules to the letter but that did not protect Kara.