Host City: Montréal, Canada
Date Started: July 18, 1976
Date Finished: July 25, 1976
Participants: 471 (262 men and 208 women) from 51 countries
Youngest Participant: Antonia Real (12 years, 311 days)
Oldest Participant: Steffen Kriechbaum (29 years, 203 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 3 athletes with 5 medals
Most Medals (Country): United States (34 medals)
The Montréal Olympic Pool was built for the 1976 Olympics with a seating capacity of 10,000, of which just under 7,000 were temporary seating. The pool is still used for swimming competition.
After the explosion of the swimming program from 1960-68, efforts were made in 1976 to streamline the program. The men went from 15 to 13 events, with the 200 individual medley and the 4x100 freestyle relay eliminated, but both would return in 1984. The women went from 14 to 13 events, eliminating the 200 individual medley, which would also return in 1984.
The United States men dominated the events, winning 12 of 13 events, and 27 of 39 medals. However, on the women’s side, the USA was no longer in charge, as the German Democratic Republic (GDR) Germany) won 11 of 13 events and 18 of 39 medals. Overall, the USA led the medal tables, as the GDR men won only one medal, with the USA winning 13 golds and 34 medals in all.
Two swimmers won four gold medals in 1976 – East German Kornelia Ender and American John Naber. They also both added a silver medal to finish with five total medals. American Shirley Babashoff also won five medals, with one gold and four silvers. She was openly critical of the East German women, basically accusing all of them of using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Twenty years later, after German unification, release of East German documents would confirm her suspicions.