The Morning Swim Show: Wendy Boglioli Talks About East German Systematic Doping in 1976 Olympics and Participation in PBS Documentary

PHOENIX, Arizona, April 28. MONDAY’S episode of The Morning Swim Show is a must-see, featuring a compelling interview with a 1976 USA Olympian who talks about her East German (DDR) competitors, the race the Americans won against all odds and her confrontation with a former DDR swimmer.

Wendy Boglioli, a gold medalist swimmer in the 1976 Olympics, joins a special Ready Room segment in conjunction with an upcoming PBS documentary, “Doping for Gold,” which examines the East German sports system’s doping of athletes in many sports for more than a decade.

To view this show click here.

Brent Rutemiller, host of The Morning Swim Show, interviews Boglioli about her participation in the PBS documentary “Secrets of the Dead.” The interview also elaborates on East Germany’s near sweep of the women’s swimming events in Montreal and how it affected what she believes was the finest American women’s team assembled.

Boglioli talks about the way the East German women were treated in their country, and how it was possible many of the women were not aware they were being given steroids and other illegal drugs that were masked during drug tests.

Boglioli won a bronze medal in the 100 fly behind two East Germans, but she said she is happy with the bronze medal because in her mind, she said, she won.

Boglioli also talks about the final women’s event on the Olympic program in 1976: the women’s 400 free relay. The East Germans had won all but one event, and Boglioli said the American women prepared for the race with nothing to lose. Also featured in the segment is Jack Nelson, the women’s Olympic head coach in 1976, who talks about his reaction to the race and what he told the four women on the relay – Boglioli, Jill Sterkel, Shirley Babashoff and Kim Peyton – before their historic swim.

“They had no fear,” Nelson said. “No fear. Those girls swam out of their minds.”

Hearing the national anthem was one of the highlights of her life, Boglioli said.

To conclude the interview, Boglioli talks about the “Doping for Gold” documentary and her trip to Germany to see the labs where the illegal drugs were made, her visit with a former competitor, who shocked Boglioli by assuming the Americans could have been doped, denied any wrongdoing and said the Americans couldn’t win because they didn’t train as hard.

Monday’s edition also features footage from the “Doping for Gold” documentary, courtesy of 13/WNET New York. The documentary airs May 7 on PBS.

For more on how the East German doping scandal affected the 1976 American women’s swim team, read this story, in which Shirley Babashoff broke her long silence on the DDR’s doping regime.

PBS is also selling copies of “Doping for Gold.” To buy your copy, click here.