A fiasco with COVID-19 testing left American speedskater Casey Dawson unable to compete in the 5,000 meter event at the Winter Olympics -- and stuck stateside -- but he was determined to participate in his first Olympic Games no matter what and no matter how late he arrived.
On Sunday, Dawson began a journey halfway around the world, in hopes of arriving in China just hours before the 1,500 meter race on Tuesday. By some air travel miracle, he was successful in his quest and made it to the Olympic Village on Tuesday about eight hours before the competition, according to NBC's Gadi Schwartz.
But, of course, as nothing is easy right now for Dawson, there was one slight problem. His luggage, including his blades, didn't arrive with him. You don't need to be an expert in speedskating to know that might be a problem.
Big update! Casey Dawson has made it to the Olympic Village. He's awaiting COVID results. Also... his luggage HAS BEEN LOST- He is hoping to compete in 8 hrs 🤯 #WinterOlympics @NBCOlympics pic.twitter.com/UmcaqmtAVL— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) February 8, 2022
Update: Casey Dawson's luggage has been located but some pieces are in Paris, others might still be in Atlanta. Right now it's all about finding precision blades specifically tailored for a 6'3 speed skater. Fingers crossed.— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) February 8, 2022
The 21-year-old Dawson tested positive for the virus about three weeks ago, but was under the impression he would be able to make the trek if he produced two consecutive negative tests. He was then informed he needed four consecutive tests from approved testing sites.
Dawson was unable to get cleared in time to be there for his first race, but the Team USA athlete refused to miss out on the opportunity. After getting his fourth negative test on Saturday night, Dawson left Salt Lake City on Sunday morning for a flight to Atlanta. He then hopped on a red-eye to Paris, followed by another red-eye to Beijing.
This may be one of the GREATEST all out, last minute, globe crossing, sprints ever made to the #OlympicGames @USSpeedskating's #CaseyDawson is about to fly SLC>ATL>Paris>Beijing in less than 2 days... landing just hours away from competing! #GetCasey2Beijing @TeamUSA pic.twitter.com/WJqCBhvmEe— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) February 6, 2022
Finally! Casey Dawson has just landed in Beijing!!! Now it all comes down to how soon he can get the results of his COVID test! The 1500M is about 11 hrs away! #getcaseytobeijing #WinterGames #Olympics2022 pic.twitter.com/3b4rO76iPF— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) February 7, 2022
If globetrotting was an Olympic sport, Dawson would most certainly get the gold medal. But will he able to actually compete for a real gold medal? Stay tuned.