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Tokyo Olympics to allow nursing children to attend Games with athletes

Last Updated Jun 30, 2021 at 7:39 am PDT


Organizers of Tokyo Olympics say 'when necessary, nursing children will be able to accompany athletes to Japan'

Tokyo Olympics changes course after B.C. athlete calls for changes to allow her nursing child to join her in Japan

Amid pandemic, Tokyo Olympics organizers previously said athletes could not bring family, friends to Games

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – After a professional basketball player and new mom from B.C. pushed for change, organizers of the Tokyo Olympics will now allow athletes to bring their nursing children to the Games.

Kim Gaucher, who was born in Surrey and now lives in Mission, took to social media on June 23 to say she was “being forced to decide between being a breastfeeding mom or an Olympic athlete.”

“I can’t have them both,” Gaucher said in a series of videos posted to Instagram. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers had previously said athletes could not bring family and friends to the Olympics. That restriction also applied to infants who are breastfeeding.

Related video: B.C. Olympian forced to choose between basketball, breastfeeding

However, Reuters reports organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have changed course.

“Given that the Tokyo 2020 Games will take place during a pandemic, overall we must unfortunately decline to permit athletes’ family members or other companions to accompany them to the Games,” a statement to Reuters reads. “However, after careful consideration of the unique situation facing athletes with nursing children, we are pleased to confirm that, when necessary, nursing children will be able to accompany athletes to Japan.”

The International Olympic Committee says in a statement to NEWS 1130 it’s pleased organizers have “found a special solution.”

“It is great to see so many mothers compete at the highest level, including at the Olympic Games,” the statement reads. “It is important to note that entry into Japan is the responsibility of the Japanese government and the current situation of the pandemic requires a very significant reduction in the numbers of accredited participants who do not have essential and operational responsibilities.”

Related story: B.C. Olympian wants breastfeeding children exempted from family ban at Tokyo Games

The IOC has referred to Tokyo organizers for all other comments.

Gaucher was just one of many athletes and moms who were vocal about their inability to bring their dependent children with them to the summer Olympics, which are set to open in less than a month.

The 31-year-old basketball player pleaded with the public to help her bring change, saying in one of her videos, “I need the help of the internet. If anybody knows anybody, anything, let’s see if we can make a difference. It’s 2021, let’s make working moms normal.”

Tokyo Olympic organizers have not yet responded to NEWS 1130’s requests for comment. We have also reached out to Gaucher for an interview.