Olympics swimmer ‘disappointed’ by restrictions forcing athletes to leave nursing infants at home

Olympics swimmer ‘disappointed’ by restrictions forcing athletes to leave nursing infants at home

Spanish synchronised swimmer and Olympic silver medalist Ona Carbonell has expressed her “disappointment and disillusionment” in the Olympic Games’ “organising entities” for enforcing restrictions so strict that breastfeeding athletes are forced to leave their infants at home.

The 31-year-old athlete, who is still nursing her own son Kai, took to social media to share her thoughts on the matter, revealing that she will indeed be forced to travel to Tokyo without her son as it’s completely impractical considering the strict regulations.

“Despite the appearance of some news suggesting the possibility that we athletes could travel to the Tokyo Olympic Games accompanied by our infants or young children, we have been informed by the organizing entities of some extremely drastic measures that make this option impossible for me,” Carbonell wrote in the caption.

In June, organisers for the Tokyo Olympics announced that they would permit nursing athletes to bring their infants with them. “We are very pleased to hear that the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee has found a special solution regarding the entry to Japan for mothers who are breastfeeding and their young children,” an IOC spokesperson said. However, the reality of Covid’s quarantine protocols make actively breastfeeding practically impossible for anyone participating in the Olympics games, as Carbonell pointed out in her video.

“[Athletes] wouldn’t be allowed to leave the hotel room during the 20-ish days I’d be in Tokyo…For me to go and breastfeed Kai whenever he needs it during the day I would have to leave the Olympic villa, the team’s bubble, and go to their hotel, risking my team’s health,” she explained.

“This was a very complicated decision for me,” she said, adding that she hopes the conditions allow other athletes to bring their own children. “Personally, I can’t accept these conditions.”

Carbonell then added, via Instagram caption, “after receiving countless expressions of support and encouragement to go to Tokyo with Kai, I wanted to express my disappointment and disillusionment that I will finally have to travel without him.”

“Our only possibility is to wait for the end of this pandemic so that normality returns, and with it the necessary measures so that the reconciliation of motherhood and elite sport is no longer something extraordinary and practically impossible to carry out,” she concluded, addressing the arbitrary implications that athletes must choose between motherhood and their careers.

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