Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, US swimmer Michael Andrew has denied taking the COVID-19 vaccine before heading to the July games.
In a virtual press conference from Team USA's Hawaii training camp, t and said he had not been vaccinated and didn't plan to be, according to AFP inputs.
"I didn't want to put anything in my body that I didn't know how I would potentially react to," said Andrew, who qualified for his first Olympics in the 50M freestyle, 100m breaststroke and 200m individual medley.
He is considered a gold medal favourite in the 200 IM.
During the US trials in Omaha, Nebraska, last month, Andrew presented a similar stance and he declined to change his point of view ahead of the Olympics.
"As an athlete on the elite level, everything we do is very calculated. I didn't want to risk any days out (of training), because there are periods where, if you take the vaccine, you have to deal with some days off," the swimmer said, presenting his case.
His mother Tina Andrew first revealed her son’s stance on remaining unvaccinated to The Washington Post, during the Olympic trials in Omaha, saying "He will do everything that is required, but he won’t take the vaccine."
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Meanwhile, earlier in the year, Michael Andrew expressed personal doubts about vaccines, saying on a swimming podcast, "Just because everyone’s heading in one direction, why do we have to follow that direction?"
The US star swimmer turned pro at 14 and trains using a race-paced concept that features much less training distance at race speed and doesn't include weight training.
Meanwhile, Andrew said he would strictly adhere to all of the testing, masking and social distancing protocols required of Games competitors.
Declining to address Andrew's decision specifically, US men's head coach Dave Durden said he thought the rigorous protocols would keep all team members healthy.
"All of our athletes, in the community that we're in right now, we're being very conscious being very safe with how we're handling our teams, how we're going from place to place, how we're operating in our training camp environment, how we are effectively bubbling ourselves," Durden said from Hawaii, according to AFP inputs.
"And that's probably the more important piece of this. Regardless of vaccinations or not vaccinated, it's what our attitudes and actions are."
The comments from the US swimmer comes on the same day Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo over rising coronavirus cases, prompting Olympics organizers to announce that almost all events would be held without any spectators.