Shirley Babashoff sat down for an exclusive interview with SwimmingWorld.TV’s Brent Rutemiller to discuss the 1976 Montreal Olympics and the systematic doping of the East German women swimmers.
Rutemiller touched on a lot of subjects including Babashoff’s place in history, The Last Gold Documentary, forgiving the East German women, possible legal action against the IOC, redistributing medals, ways to improve the IOC’s image, Lilly King and the Russians, and her book – Making Waves. The interview is full of candid and unfiltered remarks that still define the golden girl of the 70’s and her yet to be defined place in the record books.
Just recently, the California Senate passed Resolution 88 urging the Internationals Olympic Committee (IOC) to revisit the wrongs of the 1976 Olympics.
“The IOC needs to be shaken really hard and brought into this century.” – Shirley Babashoff
Babashoff said that she would be willing to meet with Thomas Bach, president of the IOC, but only if they are willing to revisit the 8-Year Rule. “I would love that (meeting Thomas Bach). I would be afraid that he would just spew the 8-year rule at me. It was 13 years after the fact (referring to the East Germans) before we had proof. Why is there a statute of limitations? It is just dumb.
“It is like trying to talk to a crazy person. Who knows how the IOC thinks? There are probably some people on the IOC who don’t even know swimming,” said Babashoff.
When asked if she ever considered legal action, Babashoff said that, “A class action suit would be great. We don’t want compensation, we just want our place in history. I’m not in this for just me. If they said, ‘Okay Shirley, here are your medals’, I would say, ‘No! Everyone needs their medals.'”
The fact that the Russians were caught doping their athletes prior to the Rio Olympics was not lost on Babashoff whose 1976 story is really today’s story.
“I am still angry” – Shirley Babashoff
To Babashoff the East German swimmers where made in a laboratory and not in a pool with all the hard work that goes into training. “I feel that the East Germans were not swimmers. They were strangers to me. They are just strangers who learned how to swim. … I want my place in history.”
Enjoy this Exclusive Interview with Shirley Babashoff