3-Time East German Olympic Gold Medalist Andrea Pollack Dies at 57

1976 Olympic gold medalist Andrea Pollack died last Wednesday. She was 57-years old after a battle with cancer.

Pollack represented East Germany at 2 Olympic Games, winning gold medals in the 200 fly and on the 400 medley relay in 1976; and another gold at the 1980 Moscow Games in the 400 medley relay. That was in addition to 3 silver medals (1976 400 free relay, 1976 100 fly, 1980 100 fly).

Pollack was one of several former East German swimmers who, in the late 1990s, publicly stated that they believe that their coaches and East German sports officials gave them banned anabolic steroids without telling them. The athletes testified in a trial of the former officials, who were accused of causing bodily harm to the athletes. Pollack and others say they were given unidentified packets of powder, beginning at age 13, and were told that they were ‘vitamins.’

Pollack was only 15 at the 1976 Olympic Games, and was one of a number of East German swimmers, mostly teenagers, that combined to win 11 out of 13 gold medals in the women’s meet that year.

Pollack was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1987.

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He Said What?

I met Andrea years ago and was taken with her strength and humility. She regretted deeply how the East German sports machine cheated on so many different levels. So sorry to read about her passing.

David Berkoff

This is really sad. I’m certain that East Germany’s doping machine caused her cancer and premature death. As an athlete who was affected by the Eastern Bloc doping system and watched my teammates (especially the women) cheated out of medals, I still feel for my fellow athletes. Andrea likely had no idea she was a pawn in a political game and was doped like a guineapig by unethical scientists. I feel for her family and friends. Let us stand together to end doping.


Plausible deniability

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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