Shirley Babashoff won eight medals swimming for the U.S. at the 1972 and '76 Olympics, but she and her legacy were victims of doping by her East German competition. When she talked openly about it, she was shunned. Now Babashoff delivers the mail in Orange County, and writer Chris Epting got an email from her that led to a good story in this month's Orange Coast.
She had me at “Babashoff.”
I recognized her immediately as one of modern history’s greatest swimmers, arguably one of the greatest athletes this country has ever produced. I also recalled how she stunned the world by publicly questioning the East German women’s swim team in 1976. So Shirley Babashoff was my mom’s letter carrier? It was like finding out that Michael Jordan reads your water meter. But that’s how I found myself, months later at Babashoff’s house, watching Phelps make sports history, and wondering how 32 years had passed without someone righting a long-ago wrong.
Also in the issue: Intriguing cover line, "Gustavo Arellano: Does he like anyone?"