Canadian Kim Gaucher has won in her quest to bring baby Sophie to the Tokyo Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee says it will now allow breastfeeding moms to bring their children to Tokyo.
The news comes after Gaucher, a member of Canada’s women’s basketball team, made an emotional plea via Instagram to have a three-month-old daughter Sophie travel with her to the Games.
“We very much welcome the fact that so many mothers are able to continue to compete at the highest level, including at the Olympic Games,” the IOC said in a statement Wednesday. “We are very pleased to hear that the Tokyo 2020 organizing Committee has found a special solution regarding the entry to Japan for mothers who are breastfeeding and their young children.”
The IOC had stipulated that no family could travel to Tokyo due to COVID-19 restrictions, but Gaucher pointed out that international media and sponsors can travel to Tokyo and a capped number of Japanese spectators will be allowed in venues.
“Japanese fans are going to be in attendance, the arenas are going to be half-full, but I will not have access to my daughter?” Gaucher asked.
“We’ve tried appeals. Everyone says they’re on board, but nobody can do anything. Let’s see if we can make a difference. It’s 2021. Let’s make working moms normal.”
The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canada Basketball said in a joint statement last week that they “recognize how difficult this situation is and have been supporting Kim at her request.
“In any other Games scenario, we would have long ago found a solution. The Tokyo Olympic Games are understandably being conducted with an unprecedented focus on health and safety, this includes Japanese borders being closed to overseas visitors, family and friends.”
Gaucher will compete in her third Olympics in Tokyo. She’s with the women’s team in Tampa, Fla., where they’re practising at the Toronto Raptors’ temporary training facility. COVID restrictions in Alberta prevented the team from centralizing at its usual home in Edmonton.
U.S. soccer star Alex Morgan told reporters in April that it was important “to allow mothers the option to have their kids with them while they compete. . . if a child is under one or two, they might still be breastfeeding, so that’s a huge piece of it.”
Morgan’s daughter Charlie was born in May of 2020, and her daughter has been able to accompany her on the road.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2021.