Babashoff after setting a world record in the
freestyle at the 1976 Olympic trials.
Born this day in 1957: Shirley Babashoff (b. 1957), one of the greatest freestyle swimmers of all time
Babashoff is widely regarded as one of the greatest freestyle swimmers of all time. She set six world records and earned a total of eight individual Olympic medals (one gold and two silvers in 1972; one gold and four silvers in 1976). At the 1976 Olympics Babashoff spoke out about the East German team’s use of performance-enhancing drugs and she was unfairly pilloried in the press as a bad sport. Three decades later, German officials admitted to systematically doping (without their knowledge) the East German team members from 1973 to 1989. She also set a total of 37 U.S. records, 17 in individual events and 20 in relay.
Babashoff was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1982 and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1987.
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