The Last Gold chosen as Official Program Selection for 2016 LA Film Festival

USA Swimming is proud to announce that the World Premiere of The Last Gold will take place during the 2016 LA Film Festival in Culver City, California, on Monday, June 6. The feature-length documentary is one of only twelve documentary films chosen for this year’s festival.

Considered one of the greatest untold stories in Olympic history, The Last Gold details the heroic efforts of the women’s 1976 U.S. Olympic swim team as they competed against the systematically-doped East Germans. After an entire competition of disappointing results, winning no races and facing critical media that heaped on additional pressure, the U.S. women rallied together to do as a team what they could not do individually – win gold.

The LA Film Festival, produced by Film Independent, a non-profit arts organization, runs from June 1-9. Now in its 22nd year, the Festival showcases the best of American and international cinema and is recognized as a world-class event with participation from the most critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals and emerging talent from around the world.

“USA Swimming is extremely proud to have produced this documentary on the 40-year anniversary of the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games,” said Chuck Wielgus, Executive Director of USA Swimming and Executive Producer of The Last Gold. “Being accepted to the LA Film Festival gives us a great outlet to start sharing this important piece of Olympic history that not many know about.”

The film is directed by 15-time Emmy winner Brian T. Brown and narrated by Emmy Award-winning actress Julianna Margulies, one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” for 2015. Margulies also starred in NBC’s long running drama, ER and is now the star of The Good Wife on CBS.

“This film was truly a labor of love and it was a privilege to be a part of telling one of the most amazing untold stories in Olympic history,” said Brown. “This film is about a great struggle and a shining triumph that is as resonant as ever and, at long last, deserves to be heard.”

The 2016 LA Film Festival’s diverse slate includes 56 feature films, 58 short films and 13 short episodic works representing 28 countries. The Festival’s five competitions feature 42 World Premieres.

“We are honored to share a story that is so important to the history of swimming and to the women who were affected,” said Mike Unger, Assistant Executive Director of USA Swimming and Co-Producer of The Last Gold. “The perseverance by the U.S. women’s team to maintain their focus throughout the competition and to make a comeback on that final relay was amazing.”

The Last Gold tells the remarkable stories by the pioneering members of ’76 U.S. Olympic swimming team, who set numerous American and would-be World records and with resilience competed at the most elite level in the face of adversity.

Shirley Babashoff, a member of the ‘76 relay team featured in the film, is considered one of the greatest female swimmers of all time. Babashoff set six world records and earned a total of eight individual Olympic medals throughout her career. In 1982, Babashoff was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an ‘Honor Swimmer’ and in 2005 she received the Olympic Order, the highest award of the Olympic Movement.

“Representing my country as an Olympic athlete is something I’m very proud of and being a part of this film has been a tremendous experience,” said Babashoff. “My hope is that our story is remains impactful and that what we experienced will never be forgotten.”

LA Film Festival passes are currently on sale and individual tickets go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, May 10. Visit for more information.

The deadline for press to submit applications for credentials is May 5 and can be applied for at

For more information about The Last Gold, visit: and follow us on Twitter at: @TheLastGoldFilm #TheLastGold

About USA Swimming
As the National Governing Body for the sport of swimming in the United States, USA Swimming is a 400,000-member service organization that promotes the culture of swimming by creating opportunities for swimmers and coaches of all backgrounds to participate and advance in the sport through clubs, events and education. Our membership is comprised of swimmers from the age group level to the Olympic Team, as well as coaches and volunteers. USA Swimming is responsible for selecting and training teams for international competition including the Olympic Games, and strives to serve the sport through its core objectives: Build the base, Promote the sport, Achieve competitive success. For more information, visit
About The LA Film Festival
The LA Film Festival is a key part of the exhibition arm of Film Independent, showcasing new American and international cinema that embraces diversity, innovation and unique perspectives. The Festival produces one-of-a-kind events featuring critically acclaimed filmmakers, industry professionals, and award-winning talent from Los Angeles and around the world. The Festival’s signature programs include the Filmmaker Retreat, Music in Film, Celebrating Women Filmmakers, Master Classes, Spirit of Independence Award, Coffee Talks, LA Muse and more. The Festival also screens short films created by high school students and a special section devoted to expanded storytelling across the web, TV and gaming. Principal Sponsor is Jaeger-LeCoultre. Platinum Sponsor is EFILM | Company 3. The University Sponsor is Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television. WireImage is the Official Photography Agency. More information can be found at

Swimming News press release is courtesy of USA Swimming.

Leave a Reply

9 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
10 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Lane Four

YES! The trailer is fantastic. I will be there for certain.

Andy Polder

Which swimmer swam the fast leg? Which swimmer went into the water behind and came out of the water having given the USA the lead? Hint it wasn’t miss Babashof. Yrs, it was a glorious team effort, but not efforts were equal. Yet the team member who bit off the biggest challenge gets billing far below that of her teammates. I’ve often wondered why that was.

Lane Four

Shirley had the greatest history and most frustrating versus the DDR swimmers amongst her three other relay teammates. Yes, Jill and Wendy set Shirley up with a lead albeit a small one going into the anchor leg, but it was Shirley who had competed head to head against the East Germans for four years. I find it almost fateful that in Montreal Shirley went into the final leg of that relay with a small lead whereas in Munich, four years earlier, she actually dove in on the anchor leg fractions behind the East Germans….and who was the anchor for the East Germans? Kornelia Ender! This was the first of many head to head battles between Ender and Babashoff and this… Read more »


I had to look up who you were talking about. So other people don’t have to:

United States
56.95 Kim Peyton
55.81 Wendy Boglioli
55.78 Jill Sterkel
56.28 Shirley Babashoff
(Jennifer Hooker)

East Germany
55.79 Kornelia Ender
56.16 Petra Priemer
56.99 Andrea Pollack
56.56 Claudia Hempel

ice age swimmer

That relay was my absolute all-time favorite moment in sports. Oh, the righteous satisfaction watching our girls beat those doped up East Germans. I watched it on TV with my mother. We both screamed and cheered so loud, we lost our voices. Thank you ladies. We will never forget you. So glad many more people will hear your story now.

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!