Canadian women’s basketball player Kim Gaucher is preparing for the Tokyo Olympics on two fronts: as a member of the team representing her country, and fighting a currently losing battle to bring her three- month-old daughter, whom Gaucher is breastfeeding, with her to the Games in the face of an Olympics organizers’ edict barring athletes being accompanied by family members due to COVID.
Gaucher expressed her frustrations on her Instagram page last week. Quoting her post:
Hey, I’m Kim. This is Sophie. All I’ve ever wanted out of my basketball career has been to rep 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. I can’t have them both.
Tokyo has said no friends, no family, no exceptions. (It appears) the media are all flying in from around the world. 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?
The basketball team’s going to be gone for twenty-eight days. 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) twenty-eight day supply.
We’ve looked into shipping milk. We’ve run into some complications. We’re still exploring that option. But it’s not going to be easy. All the traditional routes … we’ve tried appeals. Everyone says they’re on board, but nobody can do anything.
I need the help of the Internet. If anybody knows anybody, anything … let’s see if we can make a difference. And it’s 2021. Let’s make working moms normal.
Gaucher, 37, is preparing for what will undoubtedly be her final Olympics appearance, having previously considered retirement following the 2016 Rio games. As she mentioned on Instagram, she has gone through all the regular routes in appealing the prohibiting of bringing her daughter, who at three months old is in little danger of either contracting or spreading COVID. Nevertheless, bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo has taken root. From the CBC:
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) told CBC News on Thursday that it would be highly unlikely that “unaccredited people from overseas” would be allowed to attend.
“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.”
Translation: it’s all Canada’s fault.
In a statement to CBC, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canada Basketball said an appeal was made to the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee to allow Gaucher’s daughter and husband, Ben Gaucher, into Japan.
“In any other Games scenario, we would have long ago found a solution,” the statement said.
“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.”
Translation: it’s all Tokyo’s fault, and we’re too busy getting ready to watch the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Finals to raise a fuss.
The organizing committee said in a statement to CBC on Friday that it was “basically decided” that family and friends would be barred from the Games, but it remains possible an exception could be made.
“It is our understanding that no children stayed at Olympic Villages during previous Games. Nevertheless, there may be special circumstances, particularly with regard to infant children, and we will therefore continue to consult with the IOC and the [International Paralympic Committee] and solicit opinions from other relevant parties.”
This is such a no-brainer, it is no surprise no one is capable of standing up and doing the right thing. That there is even the slightest debate on a mom bringing a three-month-old, breastfed baby with her, when she’s on a twenty-eight day business trip to work, is ridiculous in the extreme. But, bureaucrats gonna bureaucrat. Maybe if they’d get their COVID information from someone other than Facebook, they’d do the right thing.