Will Paris 2024 Olympic be the friendliest but to mother athletes? | EUROtoday

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Paris might be the positioning of many Olympic Games firsts: It goals to be the primary totally gender-equal Games, the primary to drastically scale back carbon emissions, and can function the primary Opening Ceremonies not held in a stadium.

It may additionally be probably the most accessible to athletes with younger youngsters, and notably athlete-moms — as extra select to compete after having youngsters and turn out to be extra vocal in regards to the struggles of balancing motherhood with aggressive sports activities.

For the primary time, the Olympic Village will function a nursery — to assist athletes extra simply spend time with their infants or infants amid grueling competitors and coaching schedules. The French National Olympic and Sports Committee has additionally pledged to make lodge rooms accessible for French athletes who’re breastfeeding, as a part of a set of measures to create more room for “parenthood” throughout the Games.

Olympic organizers say these measures are wanted to advertise girls’s participation in sports activities — and to maintain up with the instances.

“Society is changing and this meets our athletes’ needs,” stated Astrid Guyart, basic secretary of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee, advised French newspaper Le Monde.

American monitor and subject athlete Allyson Felix, who received 11 Olympic medals earlier than retiring from the game in 2022, advised CBS the launch of the nursery, within the nonresidential space of the Olympic Village, represents “a shift in the culture” round feminine athletes.

“I think it really tells women that you can choose motherhood and also be at the top of your game and not have to miss a beat,” stated Felix, who’s on the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission.

To be certain, athlete-moms — and feminine athletes extra broadly — can nonetheless face obstacles on the highest ranges of sports activities, together with unequal pay and decrease public visibility. And change is sluggish: Ahead of the final Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2021, the International Olympic Committee barred household from accompanying athletes, together with youngsters who have been nonetheless nursing, due to pandemic restrictions, earlier than reversing and acknowledging the “unique situation facing athletes with nursing children,” after an outcry led by feminine athletes.

Individual athletes have led the cost to safe preparations for themselves and their households on the 2024 Games — by advocating within the media and even interesting on to political leaders. In January, Olympic medalist and judoka Clarisse Agbegnenou, 31, stated she took French President Emmanuel Macron apart throughout his go to with the French nationwide judo staff and advised him, “I would like to have my daughter with me in the Olympic Village to feel good and be fully committed in my final stretch of these Olympic Games.”

“I tried to give some advice to help us be even better … I think it was heard, I hope so anyway,” Agbegnenou advised RMC Sport. She added that extra modifications have been wanted “on the issue of health, family.”

In current years, well-known athletes similar to Felix, soccer participant Alex Morgan and retired American tennis participant Serena Williams have voiced their frustration with the truth that girls’s sports activities usually are not at all times equally valued, compensated or promoted in media and through main sporting occasions.

Children and households are usually not allowed contained in the Olympic Village. French Olympic organizers stated “the village must remain a preserved place, where only athletes and staff coexist in a performance dynamic.”

This 12 months, underneath new insurance policies for the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games, a nursery will likely be arrange within the nonresidential space within the Olympic Village Plaza, and will likely be open every single day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to oldsters of infants and infants “and their dedicated caregivers,” Paris 2024 organizers stated.

France goes even additional — making particular lodging for the primary time this 12 months to permit its athletes entry to a devoted breastfeeding house at a lodge close to the Olympic Village, and to remain there in the event that they wish to stay with their baby, the French National Olympic and Sports Committee stated.

French athletes with youngsters of any age will even have entry to a shared house to spend time collectively throughout the day. And throughout the Paralympic Games, athletes with infants underneath the age of 1 will obtain “guest passes” to permit their infants into the Olympic Village twice a day to allow them to be breastfed. The identical rule will apply for athletes with youngsters as much as 3 years previous when the kid has particular wants or disabilities.

“It’s really cool what the French Olympic Committee is doing for their breastfeeding and parent athletes,” Canadian basketball participant Kim Gaucher, who helped push for the IOC to reverse its coverage on nursing youngsters on the Tokyo Olympics, stated in an article shared by the Canadian Olympic Committee. “This is what we want to be the norm.”

Felix labored on a partnership with Pampers to supply athletes “access to high quality nappies and wipes, while also providing a space for playtime and family bonding” on the Paris 2024 Olympic Village nursery.

Felix advised CBS, “I just knew how difficult it was to compete at the top level after I had my daughter, and some practical things were really hard.”