Winter Olympics: Casey Dawson Competes after 45 PCR Tests, And On Borrowed Skates

After 45 PCR tests in three weeks, a missed event, and his luggage being lost, Casey Dawson was finally able to realise his Olympic dream – on borrowed skates.

The 21-year-old speed skater tested positive for Covid-19 last month, and a mix-up over testing further delayed his arrival in Beijing.

When clearance finally came, Dawson made the 6,000-mile journey from Salt Lake City to Beijing – via Atlanta and Paris – and arrived just hours before stepping onto the ice for the 1500m.

The American finished second last, but if medals were given out for overcoming the odds, he would surely be taking one home.

“I’m just so happy to finally be here because I didn’t think I would be,” he said.

The mix-up occurred when Dawson thought he needed two consecutive negative tests in order to travel, but the regulations had been changed so four were required.

The delay meant he missed the 5,000m, but he refused to give up on being in Beijing for the 1500m.

His problems did not end when the fourth negative test result came, though.

“I came to the airport and all my baggage wasn’t there,” he said. “They had all my blades and skin suits in.

“Luckily I had a spare skin suit in my hand luggage but all my blades were in the baggage that was missing.

“I was lucky enough another competitor in the 1500m – Haralds Silovs – loaned me his blades. So I couldn’t be more grateful to have that going into this race.”

When he stepped on the track, Dawson was six seconds off his best time and only Mathias Voste of Belgium was slower. This, though, was about more than that.

“It wasn’t my best race or result but I couldn’t be happier just to be skating in the Olympics,” he said.

Kersten 19th As Nuis Takes Gold

Dawson was not the only competitor realising a dream, with Cornelius Kersten becoming Team GB’s first male Olympic long track speed skater since 1992.

Kersten, whose girlfriend Ellia Smeding finished 27th in the women’s 1500m on Monday, came 19th.

“I’ve said before that it’s a childhood dream come true to be here,” he said.

“At that start line, I was a bit emotional. I was thinking back to everything we’d worked for.

“And also, just helping to put long trackback on the map [for Team GB] again, I’m really proud to be able to do that.”

Kjel Nuis of the Netherlands took gold in an Olympic record time of one minute 43.21 seconds, ahead of compatriot Thomas Krol, with South Korean Minseok Kim taking bronze.

You might also like