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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Staller screens untold story of ’76 Summer Olympics women’s swim team

"The Last Gold" is a documentary film about the 1976 US Women's swim team. PHOTO CREDIT: SWIMMING WORLD
“The Last Gold” is a documentary film about the 1976 U.S. women’s swim team. The film will be shown at the Staller Center on Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.. PHOTO CREDIT: SWIMMING WORLD

As Stony Brook students dive into the spring semester, they can come and enjoy a screening of “The Last Gold” at the Staller Center.

The documentary centers around the U.S. women’s relay swim team that competed in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and its journey to race against the East German team for the gold medal. The U.S. team was led by captain Marcia Morey and was comprised of swimmers Shirley Babashoff, Wendy Boglioli, Jill Sterkel and Kim Peyton.

“It’s about teamwork and the riveting story of the ’76 Olympics,” Julie Greene, director of marketing and public relations for the Staller Center, said.

Brian T. Brown, a 15-time Emmy-winning director, said he created this documentary in order to record a special event in history and wanted to show it to everyone in the local community.

At the 1976 Summer Olympics, the U.S. women faced a tough challenge. While the men’s team won nearly every race, the women had little to show for their hard work. Then the women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay race put four contestants together and led the U.S. to victory against the East Germans, who were later revealed to have used performance enhancing drugs during the competition.

“What the USA swimming team wanted was a price of cheating,” Brown said.

Babashoff was described as the fastest swimmer of her time, having set several American records and one world record in the 800 freestyle final. Fellow teammate Sterkel was just 15 years old and in her first Olympic games when she won the gold. She would go on to set multiple world records and be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Boglioli won her gold medal at 21 years old. Peyton set a new world record during the final race with a time of 3:44.82. Unfortunately, she passed away ten years later due to an inoperable brain tumor.

Brown has made other documentaries in the past, but this film stands out because he focuses on each of the team members individually and showcases their personal strengths.

The Staller Center has established a tradition of presenting a film series each fall and spring semester. Alan Inkles, the director of the Staller Center, is in charge of choosing films from a wide range of movies such as recent theatrical releases, documentaries, foreign films and films with limited runs in theaters.

“The Last Gold is an excellent documentary and is a good addition to the mix of films,” Greene said.

The Staller Center rarely holds Q&As for movies on campus, but after this film screening, the director will host a session for any curious moviegoers.

For those interested in watching Olympic history being made, “The Last Gold” will screen on Friday, Jan. 27 at 7 p.m..

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