Update Feb. 3: Kim Meylemans is in much better spirits now, telling Outsports she is thankful for the outpouring of support, also writing on Instagram: “Just know each message made a difference for me.”
It has been a harrowing 24 hours for out Olympic skeleton slider Kim Meylemans.
It started earlier this month when Meylemans tested positive for COVID and missed two World Cup races due to the forced quarantine she experienced.
After the episode, she quickly got back in shape and made her way to Beijing to represent Belgium in the Winter Olympic Games. Once she arrived, she had a series of COVID tests that gave varying results, including negative.
A couple days ago she was put into isolation out of precaution, where she continued to train however she could on her own. Yesterday she was told she’d moved, she assumed back to the athletes village.
That’s where the emotional roller coaster took off.
“On the way to the village we did not turn to the village but the ambulance went to another facility where I am now,” Meylemans said in a video posted on Instagram, tears flowing. “I am supposed to stay here for another seven days with two PCRs a day and no contact with anyone else.”
All of this, Meylemans said, was after having at least three straight COVID tests come back negative.
While Meylemans said she would be allowed to slide by herself away from everyone else — facing potential isolation for her entire stay in Beijing — she said she wasn’t sure she could physically or emotionally do it while in total isolation.
All of this was done, she said, without her Olympic Committee being made aware.
On Instagram she posted this heart-wrenching video of sadness and fear, which has so far been viewed over 13 thousand times:
As word spread around the world of the ridiculous treatment by organizers in China, Meylemans’ cry for help paid off.
“It seems like the video, and especially also the efforts of my Olympic Committee have really paid off,” she said in an Instagram story. “At 11:35pm there was a knock at my door and I was escorted to the Olympic village.”
Despite all of her negative tests, she is still forced to stay in isolation. But she said she is able to train better and she feels more safe.
“This is the problem we said there would be from the beginning,” Rob Koehler, the director general Global Athlete, an advocacy group, said, according to the New York Times. “No one knew what to expect.”
Still, Meylemans is feeling much better and it looks like she will in fact be competing, even if she’ll be forced by organizers to miss the Opening Ceremony.
Women’s skeleton has official training runs next Monday to Wednesday, with competition next Friday and Saturday.