Olympic dream 'still intact' for Kitchener, Ont. boxer Mandy Bujold
Kitchener, Ont. boxer Mandy Bujold is headed to the Tokyo Olympics after a lengthy court battle.
In a tweet on Wednesday morning, Bujold said she won her fight in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
She said the court ruled that the International Olympic Committee's Boxing Task Force "must include accommodation for women who were pregnant or postpartum during the qualification period."
WE DID IT! pic.twitter.com/jpWHOpmwrP— Mandy Bujold (@MandyBujold) June 30, 2021
Bujold didn't have a spot at next month's Tokyo games because rankings were determined by three events in 2018 and 2019. Bujold was on maternity leave at the time.
"Years down the road, I'm going to have a conversation with my daughter about this stage in my boxing career," the boxer said at a press conference Wednesday. "I'm now going to be able to tell her that I took time off to become a mom and came back a stronger, better woman and proved that you can have a family and be an Olympian."
She also said the decision could become a precedent for future instances where athletes opt to take time away from sport to become a mother.
"Women should not be punished for being women," Bujold. "They should be respected for the unique challenge they face and continually overcome."
"The law is clear that to discriminate a woman because of pregnancy or post-partum period, to penalize her in any way or shape or form as a result of pregnancy, constitutes a discrimination based on sex," said Bujold's lawyer Sylvie Rodrigue of Torys LLP.
"The decision includes an accommodation for pregnancy. How and what form this is going to take, we do not know," she continued. "We know that given Mandy’s pre-pregnancy ranking, it means she’s going but how, what type of accommodation, what the IOC is going to do, we don't know."
Team Canada submits its athletes list on Monday, and Rodrigue said Bujold will be on the roster.
Wow! A gold medal to Sylvie Rodrigue & the @TorysLLP team on Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling. Beyond thrilled for @CityKitchener's @MandyBujold win, supporting women athletes & their right to start families & compete in events like @Tokyo2020 @Olympics! Go get 'em, Mandy! https://t.co/gggZHWzj42— Berry Vrbanovic (@berryonline) June 30, 2021
Bujold now just has a few weeks to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, which begin July 23. She said she had been training as normal and feels prepared for the games.
"If anything I think this was the best preparation for Tokyo because again, I haven't been able to compete so this gave me the same type of anxiety, the same type of emotions."
In a written statement, the Canadian Olympic Committee said it "believes strongly in gender equity in sport" and is "pleased with the decision" about Bujold's appeal.
"We understand that the qualification systems have been extremely complicated and some decisions resulted in unintended consequences. We agree with the decision to grant this appeal recognizing these consequences and the need for accommodation in cases where discrimination has resulted," the statement said in part.