Detailed view of Casey Dawson's skates prior to the men's 1500-meter race during the Winter Olympic Games Beijing 2022 on Feb. 8, 2022 in Beijing.
BEIJING — Speedskater Casey Dawson’s time in the men’s 1,500-meter wasn’t the most important thing Tuesday night. It was that he was able to be at the starting line at all.
Dawson needed to fulfill COVID protocols to be able to travel to Beijing, and had already missed the Opening Ceremony and the men’s 5,000. After taking 45 tests over the past couple weeks, he said, he finally tested negative and was on his way to Beijing on Feb. 5. After more than 20 hours of flying time, Dawson arrived in Beijing at 6:50 a.m. Tuesday morning, roughly 13 hours before the start of the 1,500 at the National Speed Skating Oval.
But then another domino: Dawson’s bags, including his skate blades, were still absent.
“It's the cherry on top of this whole situation,” Dawson said, able to joke following his race despite his incredible journey. “Just being here is just amazing. If I get my luggage or not, I’m still an Olympian.”