It seems like a straightforward question, but U.S. women’s national team star Alex Morgan is still looking for an answer.
Less than a week before the USWNT leaves for Tokyo to compete in the 2021 Olympics, Morgan is unsure whether she can bring her daughter, Charlie, who’s just over a year old.
Olympic organizers told Reuters that “when necessary, nursing children will be able to accompany athletes to Japan.” But Morgan is confused about what “necessary” means and is waiting for more direction.
Still not sure what “when necessary” even means. Is that determined by the mother or the IOC? We are Olympic mothers telling you, it is NECESSARY. I have not been contacted about being able to bring my daughter with me to Japan and we leave in 7 days. #Tokyo2020 #USWNT #TeamUSA https://t.co/cNGMt8w0Ss
— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) June 30, 2021
“We are Olympic mothers telling you, it is NECESSARY,” Morgan posted on Twitter. “I have not been contacted about being able to bring my daughter with me to Japan and we leave in seven days.”
Olympic officials have COVID-19 safety protocols in place which prevent fans from traveling to the Games, including family members of athletes. But in a statement to Reuters on Wednesday, the Internationa Olympic Committee stated that “after careful consideration of the unique situation facing athletes with infants, we are pleased to confirm that, when necessary, young children will be able to accompany athletes to Japan.”
According to the IOC, each country’s national Olympic committee has to inform Tokyo organizers about any children “within nursing age” who will be traveling with athletes.
Sporting News reached out to the U.S. Soccer Federation and the U.S. Olympic Committee seeking more information on the process and Morgan’s case in particular.
While Morgan is waiting for her answer, Megan Rapinoe backed her USWNT teammate via a tweet that was critical of the ambiguity in the IOC’s statement.
“IOC is having a shocker here,” Rapinoe tweeted. “If a mother/father/parent says it’s necessary, it’s NECESSARY!”
Other athletes — including Canadian basketball player Kim Gaucher and U.S. track and field athlete Aliphine Tuliamuk — have also raised the issue.
Morgan addressed the issue with reporters in April, indicating that U.S. Soccer has allowed her the opportunity to have her daughter with her at every USWNT camp:
“It’s important to allow mothers the option to have their kids with them while they compete. I’ve been lucky to be able to do that every single camp,” Morgan said. “I’m just still very hopeful that I’ll have my daughter with me, [and someone] who will be able to watch her during training and games.”
“It’s important to allow mothers the option to have their kids with them while they compete,” Morgan added. “If a child is under 1 or 2, they might still be breastfeeding, so that’s a huge piece of it.”
The USWNT could be in Japan for up to a full month if it advances to the gold-medal game on Aug. 6.