PHOENIX, Arizona, June 3. THE June issue of Swimming World Magazine tackles the injustice still being perpetuated against swimmers from the 1976 Olympics, who rightfully should be in possession of medals awarded to East Germans who systematically doped. In A Voice for the Sport, Swimming World CEO Brent Rutemiller looks at how new precedent of re-awarding medals from past Olympics is being ignored in the East German case.
In 2007, Marion Jones was stripped of her Olympic medals by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) when she admitted to taking steroids seven years earlier during the 2000 Olympics. A cry immediately went out around the globe also requesting the IOC to strip the medals won in the 1976 Olympics by the systematically doped East Germans (DDR).
Back then, the IOC denied all requests to revisit the 1976 results, citing the IOC 8-year rule, which disallows any discussion of Olympic performances after eight years have passed.
Today, we learn that the IOC 8-year rule must have exceptions or must now be called the IOC 10-year rule because gymnast Dominique Dawes and her teammates were recently given bronze medals 10 years after they competed in Sydney. China was stripped of its 2000 Olympic gymnastic medals because it fielded an underage competitor named Dong Fangxiao.
I recently contacted the IOC with the following official position request:
In light of some recent developments and new information concerning the awarding of Olympic medals to athletes who competed illegally in past Games, Swimming World Magazine would like to know the IOC’s position on the following questions:
• What is the IOC’s official position statement on the now well-documented facts and admissions that the East Germans systematically doped their athletes and, as a result, compromised the results of the 1976 Olympic Games?
• What is the IOC’s official position statement and/or stance on repatriation of Olympic medals to deserving athletes from the 1976 Games?
Here is its reply:
The IOC does not intend to review the allocation of medals and considers the results of the period that you are mentioning as final.
We hope this helps.
Congratulations, Dominique. Sorry, once again, Shirley Babashoff.
As a member of the USA Women’s Olympic swim team, Babashoff was the most visible victim of the injustice during the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Favored to win multiple gold medals, she came away with four silvers and only one gold medal.
In her own words from an earlier interview I conducted with her, Babashoff lays out the case that the issue really isn’t over: “Everyone should be compensated somewhat or just acknowledged. Even our own Olympic Committee should step up and have an event where they can invite those who are still alive and recognize them, perhaps with a commemorative medal…or at least say, ‘We know that this has been hard for you.’ They should at least acknowledge the women.
“Some people want to think that the issue is over. From our side of it, the whole issue has been shoved under the carpet. I think it is sad. So many women deserved their medals. They were cheated out of their medals at the Olympics!”
Still, the fact remains that the record book is tainted—not by one athlete, but by an entire country.
Babashoff went on to say, “We would like to get what we earned. We were going for the medals, NOT the cash. We were amateurs. We worked so hard. We earned it, and it was stolen right in front of everyone’s face, and no one did anything about it. It was like watching a bank robbery where they just let the crooks go and then say, ‘It’s OK.’ ”
It is not OK. Next year will mark the 35th anniversary of the greatest robbery in sports history. The IOC must be called upon now to right this wrong once and for all time.
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Video Preview of June Issue
June 2010 Issue
Contents of The June issue:
7 COLLEGE ROUNDUP: Stayin’ Alive by Jason Marsteller
Many college men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams continued their winning streaks at their respective NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III, NAIA and NJCAA championship meets.
14 USING ALL YOUR RESOURCES by Emily Sampl
At this year’s men’s and women’s NCAA Division I Championships, diving points proved to be key in both Florida’s (women’s) and Texas’ (men’s) team triumphs.
16 ON THE VERGE OF GREATNESS by John Lohn
Armed with an impressive athletic pedigree and work ethic, NCAA champ Austin Surhoff from the University of Texas could be one of the next great American swimmers on the international scene.
6 A VOICE for the SPORT
34 FOR THE RECORD
45 PARTING SHOT
In the Swimming Technique portion of the magazine you will find the following:
21 Q&A WITH COACH PETER WRIGHT, Y-SPARTAQUATICS by Michael J. Stott
23 HOW THEY TRAIN: David Ingraham by Michael J. Stott
24 THE SCIENCE OF PERFORMANCE: The Basics of a Great Swimming Start
by G. John Mullen
26 ADVERSITY: WHEN MIND MATTERS by Michael J. Stott
Advance preparation is the best medicine.
In the SWIM portion of the magazine you will find the following:
18 THE POOL’S EDGE: Jump In…the Water’s Fine! by Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen
Summer is right around the corner, which means it’s time to get outside and enjoy some open water swimming.
19 WORKOUT CARD: Training with Conejo-Simi Aquatics Masters
by Lauren Hancock
In the Junior Swimmer portion of the magazine you will find the following:
29 NATIONAL AGE GROUP RECORD SETTER:
Camden Murphy, Spartan Aquatic Club (Mich.)
30 AMERICAN RELAY by Judy Jacob
31 TYR AGE GROUP SWIMMER OF THE MONTH:
Isabella Rongione, The FISH (Va.)
32 THE STREAK CONTINUES by Jason Marsteller
Sarasota YMCA’s numbers keep getting better: four straight combined team championships, six straight women’s crowns and 25 titles overall at the YMCA Nationals.
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