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Swimming at the 1976 Montréal Summer Games:

Women's 400 metres Individual Medley

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Host City: Montréal, Canada
Venue(s): Olympic Pool, Montréal, Québec
Date Started: July 24, 1976
Date Finished: July 24, 1976

Gold: GDR Ulrike Tauber
Silver: CAN Cheryl Gibson
Bronze: CAN Becky Smith

Summary

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.\n\nTauber 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.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal
1 Ulrike Tauber 18 East Germany GDR Gold WR
2 Cheryl Gibson 16 Canada CAN Silver
3 Becky Smith 17 Canada CAN Bronze
4 Birgit Treiber 16 East Germany GDR
5 Sabine Kahle 17 East Germany GDR
6 Donnalee Wennerstrom 16 United States USA
7 Joann Baker 15 Canada CAN
8 Monique Rodahl 16 New Zealand NZL
2 h1 r1/2 Judith Hudson 18 Australia AUS
3 h1 r1/2 Anne Adams 16 Great Britain GBR
3 h2 r1/2 Lynne Rowe 18 New Zealand NZL
3 h4 r1/2 Susan Hunter 20 New Zealand NZL
4 h1 r1/2 Ann Bradshaw 19 Great Britain GBR
4 h2 r1/2 Nataliya Popova 18 Soviet Union URS
4 h3 r1/2 Susan Richardson 21 Great Britain GBR
4 h4 r1/2 Colette Crabbe 19 Belgium BEL
5 h1 r1/2 Allison Smith 16 Australia AUS
5 h3 r1/2 Jeanne Haney 17 United States USA
6 h1 r1/2 Nancy Deano Philippines PHI
6 h3 r1/2 Pierrette Michel 14 Belgium BEL