Haredi competitive runner Bracha “Beatie” Deutsch submitted a petition to the Olympic Committee Tuesday asking that the women's marathon be rescheduled so that she will not have to compete on Shabbat during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
Deutsch has requested that the Board of Directors of the International Olympic Committee ( IOC ) make a reasonable adjustment to accommodate her religious beliefs by holding the Tokyo 2021 Women’s Marathon on a day other than Saturday.
The Olympic marathon in which Deutsch is to compete is now scheduled for August 7, 2021. The IOC has previously rejected Deutsch's request to take into account her religious beliefs when setting times for the women's marathon.
"All I want is to be able to fulfill my dream of representing Israel at the Tokyo Olympics and continue to encourage women and young mothers of all faiths that it is never too late to pursue your dreams, and that you can do so while balancing motherhood and staying true to your values," Deutsch said.
Beatie Deutsch ran her first marathon less than five years ago, at the age of 26, after giving birth to four children. She ran her second marathon when she was seven months pregnant with her fifth child. She started training with a coach a little over a year ago, but she has already competed against elite runners, and now she is ready to participate in the Olympics.
Deutsch is represented by Gibson Dunn and Croucher LLP. "We call on the IOC to uphold the values of the Olympics by providing reasonable accommodations for religious athletes," said Akiva Shapiro, a partner of Gibson Dunn, coming to the power of Beatty Deutsch.
"Holding a women's marathon on a day other than Saturday is a perfectly reasonable request that is consistent with historical practice, and will allow an inspiring athlete to continue to motivate young women and serve as an important symbol of tolerance for athletes of all faiths. Adapting to the religious needs of Beatie Deutsch will serve as a powerful demonstration of the motivating principles of the Olympic Games - promoting tolerance, equality, attitude and non-discrimination through sport," said Shapiro.