Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Pool, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 24, 1976
Date Finished: July 24, 1976
[Ulrike Tauber] was considered the best individual medley swimmer in the world, setting five world records over both distance since 1974, and winning both IMs at the 1974 Europeans and the 1975 World Championships. But nobody expected this, as Swimming World compared her performance in the final of this event to [Bob Beamon]’s long jump at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. The world record prior to Montréal was held by Tauber’s teammate [Birgit Treiber], with 4:48.79. In the 400 IM final that was bettered by Canada’s [Cheryl Gibson], won won silver with 4:48.10. She was 5.33 seconds behind Tauber.
Tauber led the opening butterfly leg by almost a full second, opened up by two seconds over Gibson on the backstroke, and then opened the lead to 5.55 seconds after the breaststroke, Gibson still comfortably in second. Tauber then cruised home in 1:04.77 for the freestyle, actually losing a bit of ground to the Canadian, but winning by over 15 metres. Behind Gibson her teammate [Becky Smith] won the bronze medal, while Treiber trailed in fourth. David Wallechinsky, in The Complete Book of the Olympics, notes Tauber was later revealed to have been given steroids from 1974 to 1980.