The athlete who SHOULD HAVE BEEN the most decorated American female swimmer from the 1976 Games will be honored with the Ousley Award at the ASCA Annual Awards Banquet on Thursday, Sept. 8. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Instead, Shirley Babashoff was vilified as “Surly Shirley” for speaking out about the completely doped East German women’s swimming team in Montreal. The only American athlete in any sport to “tell it as it really is” in Montreal, also anchored the iconic 1976 400 Freestyle relay that vanquished the doped East German team to end the Games. The relay was widely considered to be the most inspired and inspirational event in modern swimming history.
USA Swimming recently produced a movie titled “Last Gold” that will also be shown at the ASCA World Clinic on Friday evening, Sept. 9. “Last Gold” tells the story of that relay and the horrific doping in East Germany that leads up to the Games. Echoes of course, of today’s government sponsored doping in Russia.
Ms. Babashoff recently produced her own book, which will be available at the World Clinic, of her view of the events and history of those times.
In a day and age when “whistleblowers” like Shirley are the best hope clean athletes have of embarrassing the IOC, FINA and related bodies into cleaning up sport of the scourge of doping, it is the privilege of the ASCA to honor Ms. Babashoff for her courage and outspoken condemnation of doping and cheating.
Shirley Babashoff will be introduced at the Banquet by Coach Mark Schubert, her coach from 1976 and the most successful team swimming coach in the history of the sport. Shirley was a key piece of Coach Schubert’s historic teams at Mission Viejo, California.
Questions: John Leonard, ASCA, JLeonard@swimmingcoach.org