Unvaccinated Swimmer Michael Andrew's Mask Refusal At Olympics Prompts U.S. Review

The athlete was called out by USA Today for failing to wear a face covering in the mixed interview zone. All other U.S. swimmers reportedly have followed the rules.

The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee is reviewing U.S. swimmer Michael Andrew’s refusal to wear a mask during interviews with reporters Friday at the Tokyo Olympics, USA Today reported.

The newspaper, which called Andrew the “highest profile unvaccinated American Olympian,” reported the swimmer’s failure to wear a mask in the indoor mixed interview zone to authorities. U.S. officials acknowledged Andrew’s behavior was a “violation” of COVID-19 protocols and began a review.

USA Today columnist Christine Brennan said other U.S. swimmers have worn masks, except when the athletes competed or posed briefly for photos during the medal ceremonies.

Andrew finished fifth in the men’s 200-meter individual medley on Friday, falling short of a medal for a second time.

He said he found it hard to breathe after racing, “so I feel like my health is a little more tied to being able to breathe than protecting what’s coming out of my mouth.”

Asked again why he was the lone American breaking the rules, Andrew told USA Today: “No reason. I’ll throw it on when I’m done here, but to speak, it’s difficult, probably people can hear me.”

Andrew, who said he had COVID-19 previously, told reporters earlier in July that he did not get the vaccine for fear that it would interrupt his preparation. And he had no plan to get inoculated in the future, either.

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