American Cup gymnasts focus on Olympics despite coronavirus concerns

Posted at 10:34 PM, Mar 07, 2020

MILWAUKEE-- The Tokyo Olympics remain top of mind for the gymnasts competing in the American Cup at Fiserv Forum on Saturday, despite growing concern over the coronavirus.

Athletes and their families from around the globe came to Milwaukee to compete. Some athletes arrived from China and Italy, which U.S. health officials have designated as Level 3 Travel Health Notices because of outbreaks within the countries. That means avoid all nonessential travel, and people returning to the U.S. from those designated areas are asked to stay home for 14 days and monitor for symptoms.

Russia chose not to send its gymnasts to Milwaukee because of concerns over the virus.

USA Gymnastics issued the following statement on the matter statement:

For American Cup, we have been in contact with the public health department in Milwaukee and will be implementing CDC recommendations for athletes presenting with viral illness symptoms. We will have physicians on site and extra hand sanitizing stations at the event for everyone to access. We will also be providing information to all delegations on how to take extra precautions to prevent the spread of viruses at the competition.

Meanwhile, gymnasts are staying focused on doing their best and staying healthy.

"I just try to wash my hands and keep my hands off my face," said American gymnast Shane Wiskus. "That kind of stuff. But past that you have to focus on your training," he said.

"The more you wash, the more they dry out, and the more likely you are to rip," said American gymnast Sam Mikulak, who came in first place Saturday night. "But it's things we've all dealt with before, and it's really not that big of an impact."

The American Cup is the first international gymnastics meet of 2020, and it's part of a path to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, this summer. The International Olympic Committee has insisted that the 2020 games will go on despite coronavirus fears.

"No crowd's not so bad," said British gymnast James Hall, who came in third. "Actually, that's bad. But I don't know, it will be pretty heartbreaking if you can't go after all that work."

Spectators didn't express any apprehension about the virus on Saturday.

"It crossed my mind," said Julie Sovey. "I was not concerned about it."

For more information on the event that took place, click here.