‘We shook hands, turns out the bloody idiot had COVID’: Marschall’s Games fright
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For one awful hour Kurtis Marschall thought his Games were over before they had begun.
For that hour, he was scooped into a bubble, given COVID-19 tests and separated from his teammates. The rest of the Australian team were all immediately ordered back to their rooms and sent into lockdown.
Kurtis Marschall in action during the men’s pole vault qualification.Credit:AP
Marschall had shaken hands and trained with old friend Sam Kendricks, a US pole vaulter who on Thursday tested positive for COVID.
“It was like an hour when I was absolutely stressing because the Games could have been over if I hadn’t been vaccinated, if I wasn’t wearing a mask,” Marschall said.
“Luckily I was and protocols kept me in the Games so just stoked to be here.
“I just gave him a handshake but he wasn’t wearing a mask, I was wearing a mask, and of course I was so stoked to see him I hadn’t seen him in years so we embraced and it turns out the bloody idiot had COVID.
“For a minute there I was a bit stressed because I had to get that negative COVID test. Luckily the AOC has the PCR facilities in the village, so I got that straight away, got the results in an hour, negative, all right, let’s move onto the next step make sure you can compete.
“Had to try and keep a level head through it all keep myself together and ended up being fine.”
Marschall, fellow pole vaulter Nina Kennedy and Marschall’s coach Paul Burgess remain isolated from the Australian team and subject to stricter movement protocols.
Interestingly while the entire Australian team had to briefly lock down after Marschall was deemed a close contact the US team did not. Another pole vaulter was able to fly in to replace Kendricks on the team.
On Saturday morning, Marschall was able to put the days of drama to a side to jump well and, despite twice missing a height at 5.65 metres was able to clear that height then clear 5.75m and advance to the final.
“Third attempt at 5.65 I did not plan that but managed I to get over. I knew what I had to do, things weren’t coming together.
“It was not too hard, 65 I can jump pretty much blindfolded but because I cleared it third attempt I knew I had to jump 75 to make the final and I jumped 75 first attempt and got myself a spot.
“I feel like now I have got myself in this position to compete, it’s a COVID Games, literally anything could happen. You have to prepare yourself for the worst but hope for the best.”
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