Illinois gymnast flexes on career-high vault by flashing COVID vaccine card: 'Go get vaccinated everyone!'

Jason Owens
·1 min read

Illinois gymnast Evan Manivong had two reasons to celebrate during a recent meet against Minnesota. 

The sophomore tied his career high with a 14.750 vault. And he got his COVID-19 vaccine.

After nailing the vault, Manivong smiled, pulled out a card from his uniform and flashed it for everyone to see. He then joined his teammates to celebrate. What was on the index-sized card wasn't immediately apparent through the lens of TV cameras.

'Go get vaccinated everyone!'

But he cleared things up on Twitter after the team shared video of his vault.

"It's my vaccination card... go get vaccinated everyone!" Manivong wrote.

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The meet took place on March 22. But the video and Manivong's message started gaining attention on social media on Monday.

Athletes, teams and sports leagues have joined calls in recent months to encourage and promote COVID-19 vaccines. But none quite so candidly and enthusiastically as Manivong, whose message lands as vaccinations become more widely available in states across the nation. 

Illinois' Evan Manivong during an NCAA gymnastics meets on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
Evan Manivong's vaccine endorsement may be the most enthusiastic yet from an athlete. (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)

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