Sport
Kim Gaucher and Mandy Bujold lead the way for future generations of Olympian moms

Kim Gaucher and Mandy Bujold lead the way for future generations of Olympian moms

Kim Gaucher had to decide between her baby girl and the Olympics.

Mandy Bujold found herself without a decision at all; When the Olympic qualification was revised due to the pandemic, the 2019 Canadian boxing champion missed the match, not having participated in the new period due to her pregnancy.

But within hours on Wednesday, justice was served. Tokyo organizers ruled that Olympians could bring newborn babies to the Games, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that Bujold was indeed qualified to box at the Olympics.

“To all the working moms who have had to fight this fight before, I think it was just a really good day for women in sport today,” Gaucher said on Wednesday, a day after her official appointment to the sport. canadian olympic basketball. listing.

Bujold said his fight was the toughest of his career.

“In 2021 I didn’t think I would have to fight this battle. I can say it was one of the biggest fights of my career, but also the most meaningful fight. I stood up for what I believe. is fair and for the dream I had worked so hard for, ”said Bujold.

“And I am so proud that we have set a human rights precedent for female athletes today and for generations to come.”

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More from Tokyo 2020

WATCH | Bujold speaks of a victorious legal battle:

Watch boxer Mandy Bujold of Kitchener, Ont. Read her statement after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that Olympic qualifying criteria must include accommodation for pregnant or postpartum women during the qualifying period , paving the way for Bujold to compete in the Tokyo Olympics. 5:40

In recent years, the International Olympic Committee has started to work for greater gender equality. In February, he cited 49% female participation in Tokyo, calling the 2021 Games the first to be gender-equal.

Since then, the head of the Tokyo organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, has resigned over sexist comments that women talk too much in meetings, and the cases of Bujold and Gaucher have come to light.

Mori was replaced by Seiko Hashimoto, a 56-year-old Olympic medalist in women’s speed skating. Hashimoto is also the mother of three children and three other stepchildren.

Japan ranks 121st out of 153 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index.

Message to the next generation

Now, Bujold and Gaucher have won, in essence, the right to compete in the Olympics as a mom. Both seemingly easy decisions, with unnecessary stress added to the athlete’s plates.

“This move can give hope to aspiring young athletes around the world, knowing that they don’t have to choose between having an Olympic dream and starting a family,” said Bujold.

Bujold’s daughter, Kate, is two years old, while Gaucher is still breastfeeding his three-month-old daughter Sophie.
The two hope to use their fights to light the way for the next generation.

“Being a mom is really tough, but it’s also one of the best jobs I could have. When I started all of this, when I said I wanted to come back for the Olympics, I wanted to be able to inspire no only the future young canadian basketball players, but my daughter Sophie, so that I can tell her that I gave it my all, ”said Gaucher, 37, from Mission, BC.

WATCH | Left-handed on a tough decision she faced before Wednesday:

Canadian basketball player Kim Gaucher says she is forced to go to the Olympics and care for her baby girl, who she is still breastfeeding but cannot bring to the Games. The case raised questions about the IOC’s commitment to gender equality. 1:56

For Bujold, it was about paving the way for women through sport.

“I owe it to myself, I owe it to other women, and most of all, I owe it to my daughter. Never for a single moment do I want her to feel that her dreams or her choices are limited because “She is a woman. The sky is the limit for all women and for my daughter,” said the 33-year-old boxer.

It is also significant in Bujold’s case that her battle was settled in the highest court in sport, perhaps setting a precedent for expectant mothers who also wish to fulfill a lifelong Olympic dream.

Discrimination

Sylvie Rodrigue, Bujold’s lawyer, said it was a case of discrimination.

“The discrimination arose out of the retroactive selection of events that were never meant to be qualifying events held during an 11 month period in which female athletes may have been pregnant or postpartum without providing accommodation for them. these female athletes, ”said Rodrigue.

“Pregnancy is not an injury. It is not an illness. The violation of a protected human right raised Mandy’s situation to a completely different level, which warranted court intervention. “

Bujold will now surely head to his second Olympics after a fifth place finish at Rio 2016.

Gaucher, meanwhile, is heading into her third Games, with one of three players in the recently appointed roster expected to triple.

This leaves Gaucher as a seasoned leader and crucial member of a team with hopes of winning Canada’s first-ever women’s basketball Olympic medal. The men won one, winning silver at the 1936 Games in Berlin.

Current women’s basketball star Kia Nurse has said she is thrilled that Gaucher has her paved way to Tokyo.

“She was already a superhero in my eyes but now as a working mom she is even more so and so I’m very excited that she can come and that it is a comfortable situation for everyone and that Sophie and [husband] Ben [Gaucher] can also join us, ”said Nurse.

Women won 16 of Canada’s 22 medals at the Rio Olympics, and there’s a good chance that percentage will only increase in Tokyo.

Thanks to Bujold and Gaucher who fought and won their cause, this domination of women could continue for generations to come.

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