Shirley Farber BABASHOFF

United States of America
TeamUnited States of America
Olympic Medals
Games Participations2
First Olympic GamesMunich 1972
Year of Birth1957


With a total of eight Olympic medals, Shirley Babashoff was the most successful U.S. woman Olympian prior to the 1990s. Although she never won an individual Olympic title she is recognized as one of the greatest of all freestyle swimmers. Babashoff set six world records in individual events and shared in a further five in relays. She also set 37 U.S. records (17 individual and 20 relay) and at one time held the U.S. freestyle record at every distance from 100m to 800m. Apart from her record-breaking ability, Shirley Babashoff had a fine competitive record in major championships, winning – including relays – 27 AAU titles in addition to taking the 200m and 400m individual gold medals at the 1975 World Championships. Her greatest performance ever came at the 1976 Olympic Trials when she won every freestyle event and the 400m individual medley. She set three U.S. records in the heats, three more in the finals, and broke the world record in the 800m freestyle. Not only was this her greatest performance ever, but it ranks among the great swimming feats of all time. Babashoff received some bad press in 1976 because she complained that the East German swimmers who defeated her, notably Kornelia Ender, were obviously using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990, documents from the East German secret police, the Stasi, were found and confirmed Babashoff’s suspicions.

Olympic Results

Athlete Olympic Results Content

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