After “careful consideration,” Olympic organizers are allowing nursing mothers to bring their children to Tokyo.
While family members of athletes are barred from attending the Games due to COVID-19 safety protocols, 2020 organizers told Reuters Wednesday that, when necessary, children will be allowed.
“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,” organizers said.
“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 move comes after Canadian basketball player Kim Gaucher said she would have to make the difficult decision between going to the Olympics or staying home to breastfeed her child.
“Right now I’m being forced to decide between being a breastfeeding mom or an Olympic athlete. I can’t have them both,” Gaucher wrote on Instagram. “Tokyo has said no friends, no family, no exceptions.”
Other athletes also spoke out against the previous policy. American long-distance runner Aliphine Tuliamuk said she “cannot imagine” going to the Games without her breastfeeding daughter. U.S. women’s national team soccer star Alex Morgan said it is important “to allow mothers the option to have their kids with them when they compete.”
The nursing children will stay in approved hotels with the Olympic Village restricted to athletes and team officials.