TORONTO, ON — A Canadian basketball player is being “forced to decide between being a breastfeeding mom or an Olympic athlete.”
Kim Gaucher says COVID-19 rules prevent her from bringing her daughter, Sophie, who was born in March, to the Tokyo Olympics next month. In an Instagram video, she adds that she has tried appeals but “nobody can do anything.”
The 37-year-old Gaucher is looking into options, such as shipping milk, but has run into complications.
Gaucher says Olympic organizers have said “no friends, no family, no exceptions.”
The Canadian women’s team is ranked fourth in the world. Canada opens Olympic play against Serbia on July 26.
Organizers on Monday set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans, all of whom must be Japanese residents — for each Olympic venue, regardless of whether it is indoors or outdoors. Officials said that if coronavirus cases rise again the rules could be changed and fans could still be barred all together. Spectators from abroad were banned several months ago, and now some local fans who have tickets will be forced to give them up.
The decision comes as opposition among Japanese to holding the Games in July remains high, though may be softening, and as new infections in Tokyo have begun to subside.
Still, health officials fear that in a country where the vast majority of people have yet to be vaccinated, crowds at the Olympics could drive cases up. The country’s top medical adviser, Dr. Shigeru Omi, recommended last week that the safest way to hold the Olympics would be without fans. Allowing fans presents a risk not just at the venues but will also lead to more circulation on commuter trains, in restaurants and other public spaces.