Boxer Mandy Bujold challenges the IOC’s qualifying rules for pregnant women

May 05, 2021

Torys has teamed up with one of Canada’s highest-profile boxers to challenge the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) revised ranking system that determines who qualifies for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

The system now uses events from 2018 and 2019 to make these determinations after the planned qualifier next month was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Mandy Bujold was ranked second before giving birth to her daughter in 2018 and did not compete while on maternity leave. Her absence in those events in 2018 and 2019, and the subsequent cancellation of later qualifying events, have left her ineligible for selection to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Torys’ Sylvie Rodrigue is representing Mandy and has spoken to various media outlets on this issue.

Sylvie told CBC Sports that they were asking the IOC to update the qualifying rules for pregnant and postpartum women.

“We're asking for a rule that takes into consideration women who may have been pregnant or postpartum during that time frame,” Sylvie said.

“From a legal standpoint, it goes to the fundamental principles of Olympism.

“The IOC in recent years has been promoting women's sports and equity.”

Sylvie also noted that although they remain positive that the IOC will rule in Mandy’s favour, they are willing to go to arbitration if the IOC rules against them.

Speaking on CTV Kitchener about the significance of the IOC creating a new rule for maternity leave, Sylvie said the current rules are disconcerting to female athletes.

“Because otherwise it really sends the message that motherhood and being an Olympic athlete isn’t compatible and we know for sure that that’s not the message that the IOC wants to send to female athletes around the world right now,” Sylvie said.

CTV Kitchener video 

Click here to read the French version of the CBC Sports article and watch Sylvie’s interview.

The Canadian Press also published an article detailing Mandy’s contest. It was picked up by TSN, CBC Sports, the Toronto Star, Alaska Highway News and the Coast Reporter.

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