East German Steroid Swimmers

At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, American Shirley Babashoff was supposed to be the female version of Mark Spitz. Babashoff was a threat to win six gold medals. Instead, she won just one gold medal and four silvers. In every race she lost, she lost to an East German. The star of the East German women’s swimming team was Kornelia Ender (pictured here). Babashoff was immediately suspicious of the East Germans because of their muscular builds and deep voices. She claimed the dressing room ‘sounded like a coed room.’ At the time, Babashoff was criticized as a sore loser. The press dubbed her ‘Surly Shirley.’ After East Germany collapsed in 1989 the truth came out: East German athletes were regularly given steroids via injections to increase their athletic capabilities. Babashoff now campaigns to have the East German medal results nullified.

Undated: Kornelia Ender of West Germany smiles after a swimming event. Mandatory Credit: Tony Duffy/Allsport

Author: Alex

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