Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold denied Olympic berth by IOC, will pursue arbitration

Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold has been denied an Olympic berth by the International Olympic Committee, more than a week after she made her case as to why she should qualify for the Games.

Arbitration pursuit a last-ditch effort for boxer to obtain entry into Tokyo Games

Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold was denied a spot in Tokyo by the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images/File)

Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold has been denied an Olympic berth by the International Olympic Committee, more than a week after she made her case as to why she should qualify for the Games.

Bujold, one of Canada's most successful boxers with two Pan American and 11 national championships, was on the outside looking in after the IOC's qualifying process kept her out of the Olympics.

Because of two qualifying events being cancelled due to the pandemic, the IOC went back to an 11-month time between 2018 and 2019, including three events, to qualify boxers for the Games.

It was during that time Bujold was pregnant and postpartum. She consistently ranked within the top-four boxers in her weight class leading up to that time frame.

Bujold secured legal representation in a fight to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, making her argument based on human rights and equality.

WATCH | Mandy Bujold on her fight to compete in Tokyo:

Mandy Bujold on being denied Olympic berth by IOC

5 months ago
Canadian Boxer Mandy Bujold speaks with Anastasia Bucsis on how she's feeling after being denied an Olympic berth from the IOC. Arbitration pursuit will be a last-ditch effort for her to obtain entry into Tokyo Games 4:44

"Today, the IOC wrote to my lawyer indicating that it was not accepting the legal arguments raised in her letter on April 23," Bujold wrote in a statement to CBC Sports.

"We now have unfortunately no choice but to pursue our legal challenge before the courts."

Bujold has hired Sylvie Rodrigue, her friend and a 28-year corporate litigator at Torys LLP in Toronto, to help in her fight. They're arguing a female athlete should not be denied a spot in the Olympics due to giving birth.

"We're asking for a rule that takes into consideration women who may have been pregnant or postpartum during that time frame," Rodrigue told CBC Sports last week.

"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."

Rodrigue had delivered their argument to the IOC two weeks ago. Both her and Bujold were optimistic the IOC would make what they felt was an easy decision.

"We gave the IOC the opportunity to step-up and do the right thing for female athletes who took a brief break to have a child," Bujold said.

"The IOC's position is surprising not only from a human rights perspective, but also in view of the multiple public statements it has recently made with respect to its commitment to women and gender equity, specifically in the context of the Tokyo Olympics."

With less than three months to go until the Olympics, Bujold and her legal team are up against a tight timeline now but aren't giving up. Their next steps include going to Court of Arbitration for Sport — a last ditch effort to get Bujold into the Games.

Bujold has told CBC Sports she will be retiring after these Olympics and it was her hope to podium at the Games before stepping away from sport.

WATCH | Bujold shares athletic passion with her daughter:

In the ring with Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold and her daughter

6 months ago
A behind the scenes look at the joy Mandy Bujold has in sharing her passion with her daughter Katie. 1:08

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?