Breast-feeding athletes to be offered ‘special’ hotels at Paris Olympics

The French Olympic Committee said on Monday that it would provide hotel rooms for breast-feeding French athletes during the Paris Olympics because children are set to remain barred from the athletes’ village.

The move is a response to demands by new mothers that parenting be taken into greater consideration by sporting bodies, notably by French judo star Clarisse Agbegnenou.

Breast-feeding French sportswomen will be offered rooms at a hotel a short distance from the athletes’ village where they can sleep with their infants or have their fathers look after them, French Olympic Committee secretary general Astrid Guyart told reporters.

Olympic rules mean children can be given passes to enter the athletes’ village under exceptional circumstances, Guyart explained, but the passes are “very restricted”.

A social area for families will also be created at the hotel, she added, with the total cost estimated to be around 40,000 euros ($43,000).

“It’s unprecedented and it’s something we want to become permanent, so that’s not a one-off because it’s the Olympics in Paris,” said Astrid Guyart, head of the Athletes’ Commission which has been advising organisers of the Paris Games.

The Olympics are set to take place from July 26-August 11 followed by the Paralympics from August 28-September 8.

Around 10,000 sportsmen and women are expected to sleep at the athletes’ village which has been specially built in the deprived northern Paris suburb of Saint-Ouen.

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