Australian pair Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt will be able to compete in the mixed doubles curling tournament after they were cleared by a medical expert panel, the Australia team said.
Early in the day, Gill returned a series of positive COVID-19 tests late and had been placed in isolation ahead of her planned return to Australia. As a result, the team was originally going to forfeit their final two games of competition.
However, in a statement released Sunday, the Australian Olympic Committee said, "The Australian Olympic Committee has just received an email from the Chinese Public Health System advising that the pair can continue under the Close Contact provisions."
Australia was at the stadium warming up for their penultimate game against Switzerland, scheduled to begin at 1:05 a.m. EST Sunday.
The Australian mixed doubles curling team withdrew from the 2022 Winter Olympics on Sunday in China after Tahli Gill tested positive for COVID-19.
Gill and her partner, Dean Hewitt, were the first Australian curling team to compete at the Winter Olympics.
Gill had tested positive for COVID-19 prior to arriving and ongoing testing alternated between negative and positive. But she had been able to compete under close contact arrangements after consecutive negative tests, according to the Australian Olympic Committee.
“We made the case that Tahli was at the end of the infection cycle but further positive results early this morning ended our hopes,” Australia’s Chef de Mission Geoff Lipshut said. “Rather than remain in isolation, we now have the option of returning Tahli and Dean home.”
Gill and Hewitt had already been eliminated from the semifinals after losing their first seven round robin games, but had two games remaining against Switzerland and Canada over the next two days.
Instead, the pair will fly out tomorrow.
"They have been absolutely magnificent in the face of difficulty,” Lipshut said. “Four of their seven matches went right down to the wire against the very best of opposition. It was a disrupted campaign but a very brave campaign. We are very proud of them.”
Switzerland and Canada will be awarded the win in those matches, according to International Olympic Committee and World Curling Federation contingency plans.