Female athletes who are breastfeeding infants will be able to bring those children with them to Tokyo, according to Tokyo Olympic organizers, clarifying the event’s COVID-19 restrictions.
As the Daily Wire reported last week, a Canadian basketball player, Kim Gaucher, publicly objected to an Olympic COVID-19 restriction that barred athletes’ “friends” and “family” from attending Olympic events — a restriction that barred Gaucher from bringing her three-month-old infant who is still nursing.
Gaucher also said she had no other choices: she could not ship milk back to Canada during the Olympics, and because the Olympic schedule requires her to leave home for a month, pumping enough milk to store while she was actively training for the global athletic competition was out of the question.
“All I’ve ever wanted out of my basketball career has been to rep [represent] Canada at the Olympics. Last year, my teammates and I qualified for Tokyo, but right now I’m being forced to decide between being a breastfeeding mom or an Olympic athlete,” Gaucher said in an Instagram video. “I can’t have them both. Tokyo has said ‘no friends, no family, no exceptions.’”
“The basketball team is going to be gone for 28 days,” Gaucher said. “People have told me to try to pump like mad. I don’t have enough milk in me to train as a high level athlete, get my butt back in shape, and feed her currently, all while stocking a 28 day supply. We’ve looked into shipping milk, we’ve run into complications, we’re still exploring that option. But it’s not going to be easy.”
The International Olympic Committee said, at the time, that Tokyo organizers would consider requests to allow children to accompany their parents on a case-by-case basis.
“National Olympic Committees [NOCs] are responsible for the composition of their delegations at Games time, and the IOC is aware that a small number of them have been dealing with requests from athletes to bring their children on a case-by-case basis,” the group said.
Gaucher called on the Internet to assist.
“I need the help of the internet,” Gaucher said. “If anybody knows anything, let’s see if we can make a difference. It’s 2021, let’s make working moms normal.”
On Wednesday, the Tokyo Olympic organizers clarified that nursing babies were an exception to the rule barring unaccredited individuals from attending the Tokyo Olympics.
“Olympic athletes who are nursing, including U.S. marathoner Aliphine Tuliamuk, had pleaded publicly for Tokyo organizers to allow them to bring their infants to Japan,” USA Today said. “With just more than three weeks to go until the opening ceremony, Tokyo organizers announced Wednesday they would allow those athletes to bring their young children with them.”
“After careful consideration of the unique situation facing athletes with infants, we are pleased to confirm that, when necessary, young children will be able to accompany athletes to Japan,” the Tokyo organizing committee said Wednesday.
There will still be some restrictions, however. The children must stay in “approved” hotels and cannot be brought into the Olympic Village — an arrangement that could prove difficult for mothers who may need to feed their infants several times a day or overnight. It is not clear how many athletes are affected by the policy, either; so far just the Canadian basketball player has been public about her struggle.
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