A Canadian basketball star has shared a desperate plea that the powers that be in the Tokyo Olympics allow her to bring her nursing three-month-old baby to the Games.
Kim Gaucher, 37, lamented on Instagram last week that strict rules set by the Olympics forbid any friends or family from traveling with athletes — with no exceptions, even for new moms who are nursing.
Now Gaucher says she is being forced to choose between feeding her infant daughter and realizing her Olympics dreams — with the latter meaning she’ll be away from her little girl for nearly a month.
Kim Gaucher, 37, has qualified for the Olympics in Tokyo this summer, and is now pleading that she be allowed to bring along her infant daughter
Needs her mom: In March, she and her husband welcomed a daughter named Sophie, who is still breastfeeding
Sophie, who was born in British Columbia and played at the University of Utah before competing in several FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cups for Canada, is currently playing for USO Mondeville in the championnat de France de basket-ball de Ligue féminine 2 (LF2).
But her dream has been to represent Canada at the Olympics, and this year, she qualified to do so.
‘All I’ve ever wanted out of my basketball career is to rep Canada at the Olympics,’ she said in an Instagram video.
But due to the pandemic — and some very strict rules — she is now facing a dilemma.
‘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,’ she said.
Unbendable rules: The Olympics have told athletes that no friends or family can come for the Games, with no exceptions
Arbitrary? Kim points out that there will be Japanese fans in attendance and arenas will be half-full, in addition to athletes and media flying in internationally
But she argued that this rule seems a bit arbitrary considering how many people are actually going to be at the Games, and the fact that many will be traveling from different countries.
‘Athletes and media are flying 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?’ she asked.
‘The basketball team is gonna be gone for 28 days,’ she continued. ‘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, [but] we’re still exploring that option. But it’s not going to be easy,’ she went on.
She said that she has protested through ‘all the traditional routes, we’ve tried appeals. Everyone says they’re on board but nobody can do anything.’
‘We’ve looked into shipping milk. We’ve run into complications, [but] we’re still exploring that option. But it’s not going to be easy,’ she went on
‘I need the help of the internet. If anyone knows anybody, anything, let’s see if we can make a difference. It’s 2021, let’s make working moms normal,’ she concluded
Support has poured in for Gaucher, with commenters calling what she is facing ‘brutal’ and ‘crazy’
‘I need the help of the internet. If anyone knows anybody, anything, let’s see if we can make a difference. It’s 2021, let’s make working moms normal,’ she concluded.
Support has poured in for Gaucher, with commenters calling what she is facing ‘brutal’ and ‘crazy.’
‘This should never happen, and I’m hopeful the internet can make it happen for you!’ wrote one.
‘This makes me so angry. I’m so sorry this is happening,’ said another, while a third commented: ‘So many things wrong about this. Such an obvious exemption to put in place.’
Fellow Olympian Alysia Montaño, a six-time USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships 800 metres champion, said she is ‘outraged’ on her behalf.
Her too: USA runner Aliphine Tuliamuk (center) has also asked for an exception to bring along her nursing five-month-old daughter Zoe
She’s out: Serena Williams announced yesterday that she is not competing at the Olympics this year, and implied previously that it was because she didn’t want to leave her daughter
Gaucher is not the only nursing mom facing this problem.
Long-distance runner Aliphine Tuliamuk, 32, will be representing the US at the Olympics this year, but will have to leave behind her five-month-old daughter Zoe, who is also still nursing.
Tuliamuk told the Washington Post that she also asked for an exception to be made, saying: ‘I am still nursing Zoe and cannot imagine her not being with me.’
Meanwhile, tennis superstar Serena Williams, 39, announced yesterday that she is not competing at the Olympics this year.
‘I’m actually not on the Olympic list, not that I’m aware of. If so, then I shouldn’t be on it,’ she said.
Though she said there were ‘a lot of reasons’ for her decision, she had previously implied to reporters at the Italian Open that she wasn’t prepared to leave her three-year-old daughter, Olympia, at home.
Working moms: USWNT star Alex Morgan, 31, expressed a wish that her one-year-old daughter, Charlie, would be able to travel with her
Speaking up! Sprinter Allyson Felix must leave behind her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Camryn, and says she is ‘sensitive to moms who are breastfeeding’
‘I haven’t spent 24 hours without her, so that kind of answers the question itself. We’re best friends,’ she said.
And USWNT star Alex Morgan, 31, expressed a wish that her one-year-old daughter, Charlie, would be able to travel with her.
‘I’m just still very hopeful that I’ll have my daughter with me,’ she said. ‘It’s important to allow mothers the option to have their kids with them when they compete. If a child is under 1 or 2, they might still be breastfeeding, so that’s a huge piece of it.’
Though track and field sprinter Allyson Felix, 35, is also competing in her first Olympics since her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Camryn was born, she said that exceptions should first be made for breastfeeding moms.
‘I would be most sensitive to moms who are breastfeeding. I know for me, when I competed when Cammy was under a year old — you need to be near your child,’ she said.