PUMA and COPA90 are breaking new ground with the release of a new documentary, tracing Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir’s return to the premier league of women’s football after becoming a mother for the first time.
Earlier this week, PUMA and COPA90 co-hosted the premiere of “Do Both” which took place in Lyon, where Icelandic midfielder Gunnarsdóttir is currently playing football with European giants Olympique Lyonnais Féminin.
The documentary chronicles Gunnarsdóttir’s incredibly personal journey while preparing for motherhood. The Champions League winner unveiled her plan not only to return to club football, but also to take part in this summer’s European Championship with Iceland, a challenge most would not even consider, let alone actively tackle. But Gunnarsdóttir was always determined to succeed and never took ‘no’ for an answer. This is highlighted by her best friend in the documentary, as she recalls a time Gunnarsdóttir pushed her out of goal for conceding too many goals.
In November 2021, Gunnarsdóttir welcomed their son Ragnar into the world. Three months later, in March, she returned to Lyon. A month after returning to club football, she represented her country. Within four months, Gunnarsdóttir went from birth to donning her national team jersey.
The 12-minute documentary, compiled over 9 months, gives viewers an unparalleled glimpse into the life of a new mother and elite athlete. Returning to work after giving birth is inscrutably challenging enough, let alone returning to one of the most prestigious and successful clubs in women’s football.
Working with specialist trainer Mark Jonson, Gunnarsdóttir is showing the world what it’s like to partake in a highly specialized – yet intense – training regimen during pregnancy, the ups and downs of pushing your body to its limits, and the power of family and friends to help you achieve what some think is impossible.
The documentary breaks the stigma that has surrounded female athletes for far too long: they have to choose between being a parent and being an athlete. They can’t do both. Do Both completely challenges that notion as Gunnarsdóttir shares insights into the physical and mental challenges of preparing for childbirth while continuing her career as a professional athlete.
Gunnarsdóttir proves that women can ‘do both’ and not have to choose between their love of football and the love of their family.
Directed by Lawrence Tallis of COPA90, the documentary also highlights the societal prejudices women face about staying pregnant and returning to work after childbirth. No more so than female athletes, who often face eligibility and maternity benefit challenges as many must make the decision to retire early from their careers to start a family.
“I will forever be grateful that my journey to motherhood was captured to inspire others, to remember the challenges I have overcome and to show that we can break down barriers and not rely on other people’s perceptions are limited. We can do a lot more,” said Gunnarsdóttir. “I am grateful for the support of my family and friends and of course my partners PUMA who have all supported me as I prepared to welcome my son and return to playing football. I know that not everyone has been able to walk the same path and I hope that the documentary can serve as a universal truth that as women and mothers you do not have to choose between a family and your career. You can do both.”
“This was a special project that Sara has been involved with from the moment she met with us and wanted to provide unprecedented access to her personal journey,” said Matthias Baeumer, PUMA General Manager BU Teamsport. “Sara wanted to show that you don’t have to choose between a career and starting a family. By sharing her journey, including the mental and physical challenges she encountered along the way, we hope this will inspire and provide insight to athletes around the world. At a time when women’s football is getting stronger.”
Gunnarsdóttir’s story is powerful as it will resonate with millions of people around the world, but it also offers audiences a unique insight into a story they would never have had access to otherwise.
It’s not always that a documentary can bring you to tears, make you laugh and challenge your prejudices, but Do Both can do all three and more.
Check out “Do Both” by PUMA and COPA90 at the top of the page.