PHOENIX, Arizona, January 1. JUST a month since Swimming World made the landmark decision to strip 28 titles from East German women based on a mix of positive tests, personal admissions and doping admissions from their coaches, Shirley Babashoff has released a statement in support of the action.
“I completely support and respect the efforts being made by Swimming World Magazine; calling on the IOC to set the records straight in regards to the medals that myself, my teammates and many other athletes were deprived of as a result of the (admitted) East German state-sponsored doping program. I also commend them for vacating their own titles. At this time, I am working on my memoir which will shed additional light on this controversy and, like Swimming World, my story will include a challenge to the IOC to appropriately acknowledge the many athletes whose efforts and achievements were ignored or have been forgotten. This is an extremely important priority for me.”
Babashoff was one of the most vilified of the victims of the systematic doping system devised by the East German. After voicing her opinion with loud complaints regarding the East German women who looked and sounded like men, she was tagged with the moniker, “Surly Shirley.”
After being soundly attacked by the media, Babashoff fell silent for 30 years until 2007. That year, she spoke with Swimming World CEO Brent Rutemiller following Germany’s settlement with their doped athletes to compensate them for the doping regime.
With the dawning of a new year, Babashoff will no longer remain silent with her plans of a new memoir written with author Chris Epting, which will continue to call to Make Things Right regarding the East German medals and records.
Swimming World will keep the swimming community posted when Babashoff’s memoir is in print and ready to purchase. It’s bound to be an amazing look back at what could have been one of the most amazing swimming careers in the history of the sport, had it not been stolen by the East Germans.