UK Sport has for the first time introduced pregnancy guidance for Olympic and Paralympic athletes and sport governing bodies.
The guidance includes advice for both pregnancy and continues once the athlete has given birth. UK Sport said “starting a family and being an elite athlete should not be mutually exclusive.” Five-time Olympic archer Naomi Folkard who gave birth in early 2021 before competing at this years Tokyo Olympics said “Female athletes should no longer have to make a choice between their athletic career and having children. I hope in a short time it will encourage sports science to not only begin to cover women and men equally, but also have pregnancy specific research projects for female athletes.”
The IOC has now confirmed that mothers who are breastfeeding their children can bring their child with them to the Tokyo Olympics.
Debate began when Canadian basketball player Kim Gaucher said that due to Covid restrictions she would either have to spend 28 days away from her daughter or be forced to miss the Olympics. Gaucher said “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? 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.”
The International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) announced at the virtual 2020 IBSF Congress that it has granted special exceptions for those returning to competition from maternity leave.