Canadian Olympian Kim Gaucher awoke to happy news Wednesday morning — baby Sophie is going to the Tokyo Olympics after all.
The International Olympic Committee says it will now allow breastfeeding moms to bring their children to Tokyo.
The news means Gaucher, a member of Canada’s women’s basketball team, will be able bring her three-month-old daughter Sophie to the Games.
“I’m just really happy. I’m just really happy that the right decisions have been made. Being a mom is really hard but it’s also one of the best jobs that I could have,” Gaucher said Wednesday on a video call from Tampa, Fla., where the team is training at the Toronto Raptors’ temporary training facility. COVID restrictions in Alberta prevented the team from centralizing at its usual home in Edmonton.
“To all of the working moms out there who’ve had to fight this fight before, I think it’s just a really good day for women in sport today.”
The 37-year-old from Mission, B.C., made an emotional plea via Instagram earlier this month, saying the IOC was forcing her to make a tough choice: skip the Olympics, or spend 28 days in Tokyo without her daughter, who she is still breastfeeding.
“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 previously 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 in the video.
“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.”
Tokyo will mark Gaucher’s third Olympics and with Canada currently ranked No. 4 in the world, the veteran shooting guard has a shot at bringing home a medal.