Pay up, baby. Organizers of the London 2012 Olympic Games have started a parental tantrum after announcing that everyone will need a ticket to get in – no matter how newborn they might be. The problem is that most of the tickets are already sold, having been snatched up by prospective mothers and fathers last April, a full 18 months before the games – and, according to our count, well before they might have known they needed to spring for an extra one for little junior.
Ticketholders now expecting who have contacted the London organizing committee have been told to try and buy an extra tickets for their yet-to-born offspring, according to the Guardian. There will be a limited number of “pay your age” tickets available. One mother, commenting on the Mumsnet website, explained that this kind of ticket didn’t exist for the horse jumping event for which she and her husband had purchased tickets, which meant she will have to pay £95 (about $149) “to carry a three-month-old around in a sling.”
Now you might say: what’s the fuss? Just leave baby at home when you head off to the dressage competition. (If so, you have never been stuck trying to soothe a breast-feeding newborn while his source of nutrition has vanished for an indefinite period of time.) One pregnant woman, Rosalind Ereira, told British press that she has already contacted the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the United Kingdom, and been advised she may have a case for “indirect sex discrimination” because the policy is more likely to impact moms – especially nursing moms – than dads.
At the same time, as the BBC points out, other sports events have similar policies. Babies aren’t recommended at Wimbledon for obvious reasons – and children under five are allowed into within a ticket but can’t sit in Centre Court. (Other locations say that kids don’t need tickets until they require their own seat.) In a shout out to Vancouver 2010, another online poster observed that Canadians were much more pro-baby at our Olympic events, citing a policy that allowed kids in free if they were under the age of two.
In the face of being called, among other things, “the biggest rip-off in the history of London” – and the accusation that the Olympics were no longer “family-friendly” - organizers have now said that they will review the policy when the final batch of tickets go on sale in April.
Should babies have to pay their own way to get into the Olympics? Or more to the point, if both mom and dad have tickets, how do you decide now who stays home to babysit?