Swiss Skiers Contract Norovirus at Pyeongchang Olympics

Feb 12, 2018; Gangneung, South Korea; Visitors pose for a photo on the Olympic Rings at Gangneung Olympic Park during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Two Swiss freestyle skiers are the first athletes confirmed to have been hit by a highly contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea at the Pyeongchang Winter Games, the Swiss Olympic team confirmed on Friday.

More than 200 people have been confirmed to have contracted the norovirus, most of them security staff and Games personnel, but until Friday the athletic delegations had been unaffected.

A Swiss team spokesperson said one of athletes was Fabian Boesch but did not want to name the other as the athlete’s relatives had not yet been informed.

“Everyone else is safe. We did everything we could,” the spokesperson told Reuters. “We took them away from the rest of the team and now they have to recover.”

Boesch had become an internet sensation at the Games after posting a video of himself hanging onto the outside rail of an escalator as it climbed upward.

The Swiss Olympic team said in a statement the athletes had contracted the virus a few days ago but their symptoms had now mostly gone away and could potentially still compete.

“They were taken to a single room and had no contact with the other athletes,” Swiss Olympics said in a statement.

“Please note that athletes who have had the norovirus are allowed to compete if they are in good physical health, have been tested by the Swiss medical team, take all precautionary measures and the IOC has been consulted.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said earlier on Friday the two skiers were not staying at the athletes village with the majority of the other competitors in South Korea.

It said at a news conference they were “unwell” but hoped they would still be able to compete at the Games.

The freestyle competition started on Feb. 9 and runs until Feb. 23.

SOURCE: Reuters, Jack Tarrant