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Making Waves: My Journey to Winning Olympic Gold and Defeating the East German Doping Program Hardcover – July 12, 2016
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Making Waves is a stunningly honest look at the life and career of an elite Olympic athlete. Shirley Babashoff has always been an inspiration to me and countless others, and certainly belongs on top of the Mount Olympus of history’s greatest swimmers. Combine that with someone who stood up for what she believed was the truth and you have a true champion. Thank you, Shirley.” Janet Evans, five-time medalist at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics
In 1976, Olympic swimmer Shirley Babashoff had the ability to equal Mark Spitz’s legendary seven gold medals, had she been competing on an even playing field. Sadly, the competition was not fair and the media chose to ignore the truth, and Shirley’s inability to conceal her disappointment made her the biggest victim of those Games. In Making Waves, she gets to balance those scales with a poignant and revealing memoir. Shirley deserves this hearing and, through her insights and observations, you’ll learn more about this remarkable heroine than has ever been revealed before.”John Naber, five-time medalist at the 1976 Olympics
She should have been celebrated and honored, a role model for young girls and women everywhere. Maybe now Shirley Babashoff will be recognized for what she has been all alongan American hero. In Making Waves, she speaks her truth, and though much of it is tragic and painful, she speaks it anyway. This is a gutsy book about a gutsy woman.”Mary Carillo, sportscaster
In hindsight, the coaches should have been the ones speaking out, but it was considered unsportsmanlike.’ Shirley paid the price for having the courage to tell the truth. . . . She’ll be remembered as the victim of cheating who never got the timely recognition that she deserved. I believe the records should be adjusted, as there is definitive proof of systematic East German cheating.”Mark Schubert, Babashoff’s legendary coach and former head coach and general manager of USA Swimming’s national team
Shirley Babashoff was visibly robbed of Olympic gold medals in 1976 and publicly humiliated in the media. She was the first athlete to accuse the East Germans of doping, but the world was not ready listen. Forty years later, Chris Epting finally tells the truth for the world to hear.”Brent Rutemiller, publisher of Swimming World
Shirley Babashoff was our star going into those Games, possibly the greatest female American swimmer ever. . . . She was as competitive, talented, and relentless an athlete as America has ever produced. She received one gold medal (a relay), five silvers, a thousand taunts and insults, and many death threats.”Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle
Shirley should have the gold medalsshe’s one of America’s greatest athletes ever and she had a lot of guts. Even today, athletes won’t speak up for fear of being called a sore loser, but that didn’t stop Shirley.’’Jill Sterkel, part of the storied 1976 relay team that defeated the East Germans, now coordinator of athletics at the University of Texas
I totally applaud what Shirley Babashoff did. It was the right thing at the right time, and looking back, it had a tremendous effect.”John Carlos, U.S. sprinter who along with Tommie Smith raised a black-power salute on the medal podium at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City
"In light of the recent Russian doping scandal, Babashoff, a former Olympic medalwinning swimmer, reveals in her timely memoir how the East German government turned their female swimmers into elite athletes with an experimental drug program. Her narrative deftly recounts her humble California beginnings, with her strict parents pushing her to triumph in a series of amateur meets and Olympic trials. Babashoff, assisted by veteran writer Epting, covers some painful terrain about her father molesting her for years, a crime he was eventually arrested for after similarly assaulting several neighborhood girls. Once the acclaimed swimmer gets on the big Olympic stage in 1972 and 1976, she witnesses the horror of the Munich massacre, the glory of gold medalwinner Mark Spitz, and the evolution of the muscular East German female swimmers, who were groomed in the lab to smash world records. It’s like swimming against aliens,” Babashoff tells skeptical reporters, who doubt that the women’s new Charles Atlas bodies are the result of doping. Unforgettable and brave, Babashoff’s whistle-blowing memoir poses a host of disturbing questions about Olympic regulations, performance-enhancing drugs, anti-doping agencies, media arrogance, winning cleanly, and life after competition."Publishers Weekly
From the Inside Flap
Heading into the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Babashoff was pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and followed closely by the media. Hopes were high that she would become the female Mark Spitz”the next star American swimmer who would return home with a collection of gold medals.
All of that changed once Babashoff questioned the shocking masculinity of the swimmers on the East German women’s team. It was clear to her that the East Germans were doping, but she was punished by the media for voicing her opinion. Once celebrated as America’s golden girl, Babashoff was accused of poor sportsmanship and vilified by the press with a new nickname: Surly Shirley.”
Despite breaking one world record and two American records, Babashoff found herself trailing behind the drug-enhanced East German team throughout the 1976 Olympics, settling for four silver medals in her individual events. Her victory finally came at the end of the Games, when she won gold as the anchor swimmer in the thrilling 4x100 freestyle relay, considered one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history.
Making Waves displays the remarkable strength and resilience that made Babashoff such a dynamic champion. From her difficult childhood and beginnings as a determined young athlete growing up in Southern California in the 1960s, through her triumphs as the greatest female amateur swimmer in the world and her first Olympic experience at the 1972 Munich Games, to her heartbreak at the 1976 Games and subsequent retirement from competitive swimming, Babashoff tells her story in the same unflinching and forthright manner that made her both the most dominant female swimmer of her time and one of the most controversial athletes in Olympic history.
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The book reads like she is there talking to you.
It is even more relevant given the IOC's reluctance to ban all Russian athletes because the Russians are systematic drug cheats.
I am glad that I read it. My daughter was a swimmer from the age of 5 to the 18 and I hope she reads this book too.