OMAHA, Neb. – Two-time Olympic swimmer Shirley Babashoff believes there is never a wrong time for the International Olympic Committee to do the right thing.
But when it comes to recognizing her plight and the results of other athletes who also competed against the East Germans at the height of their doping program, she hopes the right thing happens soon.
“It’s going to get fixed because people always strive to get better,” Babashoff, 59, said Friday at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials while promoting an upcoming film about her 400-meter freestyle relay at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
“It would just be nice to be a part of that and not have my grandchildren going up there to receive my medals for me and saying, ‘Well, we’re getting this on behalf of my grandmother who passed away 50 years ago.’ ”
Babashoff, who attended Fountain Valley and works as a mail carrier in Huntington Beach, earned four silver medals to winning East Germans at the 1976 Games.
She and her teammates hope the IOC will adjust the records from 1976 to show that the Americans raced against a country that featured a state-sponsored doping system and were the fair winners.
The story of Babashoff and her 400 free relay will be portrayed in the USA Swimming-produced film “The Last Gold” that debuts nationwide on July 11. Babashoff anchored the relay, featuring the late Kim Peyton, Jill Sterkel and Wendy Boglioli, to its only gold medal in Montreal. The team broke through with a world record.
“It’s a very important movie,” said Babashoff, once dubbed ‘Surly Shirley’ for voicing her suspicions about the East Germans. “People are still doing steriods.”