Army Reserve 1st Lt. Sam Kendricks, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist in the pole vault, withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics Thursday after a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy of DVIDs.
Army Reserve 1st Lt. Sam Kendricks — who came to attention for the national anthem in the middle of a pole vault attempt in the 2016 Olympics — withdrew from the Tokyo Games Thursday morning after testing positive for COVID-19. Kendricks is the reigning world champion in pole vaulting and was the bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics. He was expected to compete for the gold in Tokyo.
But Kendricks is probably best known to the American public for a moment of military bearing and patriotism in the 2016 Games. Then a second lieutenant, Kendricks was in the middle of a pole vault attempt in the Estadio Olimpico Nilton Santos in Rio when a medal ceremony for a different event began playing the US national anthem over the stadium’s loudspeakers.
Kendricks stopped his run and stood at attention for the duration of the anthem.
USA Today reported that Kendricks’ father, who is also his coach, posted on Instagram — and then deleted — that Kendricks “feels fine and has no symptoms.”
Kendricks was a two-time NCAA national champion in the pole vault at the University of Mississippi and has competed internationally as an Army Reserve officer since.
Kendricks is at least the seventh US Olympian to miss a competition as a result of a positive COVID-19 test.
Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.
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