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Swimming at the 1972 München Summer Games:

Women's 800 metres Freestyle

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Host City: München, West Germany
Venue(s): Swimming Hall, Olympic Park, München
Date Started: September 2, 1972
Date Finished: September 3, 1972

Gold: USA Keena Rothhammer
Silver: AUS Shane Gould
Bronze: ITA Novella Calligaris


Although [Shane Gould] was came into 1972 as the world record holder at every freestyle distance for women, she was felt to be slightly more beatable at the longer distances. At the US Olympic Trials in August in Chicago [Jo Harshbarger] crushed Gould's world record for this distance when she recorded 8:53.83. In the final the early leader was [Novella Calligaris] of Italy, who had won silver in the 400 freestyle. She led through 400 metres, but at 500 American [Keena Rothhammer] pulled into the lead, just ahead of Calligaris and Gould. Rothhammer would not be headed, increasing the lead for the final six laps to win in world record time, 8:53.68. Gould managed to outswim Calligaris over the final laps and take silver, as the Italian had she could handle holding off American [Ann Simmons], who eventually placed fourth. Harshbarger disappointed, placing sixth in the final.

This ended Gould's Olympics with three golds, one silver, and one bronze medal. It effectively ended her swimming career as she retired after the Australian Championships in February 1973, at only 16-years-old. At the 1973 World Championships, Calligaris would win this event in world record time with Harshbarger taking silver, while Rothhammer would win a gold in the 200 free and a silver in the 400 free.

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