Rick DeMont did not win a medal at the 1972 Olympics, even though he placed first in the 400 metre freestyle. DeMont won the race, and looked to be the gold medalist. Two days later, DeMont swam his preliminary round heat in the 1,500 freestyle and qualified for the final of that event. It was then announced that he had tested positive for a banned substance and was disqualified from the 400 freestyle and the 1,500 metres.
Unlike many athletes who test positive, DeMont did not deny that he had taken Marax the night before his 400 metre races, but the reason was that he was an asthmatic and regularly took Marax, an ephedrine derivative, to help control wheezing. When he had an attack in the Olympic Village he took a pill between 0100 and 0200 and took another pill the next morning. DeMont never hid the fact that he took the drug on a regular basis for his asthma, and had noted this on his medical form required of US athletes, but the United States’ team doctors had never checked to see if it contained any banned substances. Despite protests by United States officials, Rick DeMont was disqualified and Brad Cooper declared the winner of the 400 freestyle.
In 1996 DeMont sued the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) for having mishandled his situation in München. Among other things, it was alleged that the IOC offered to exonerate DeMont and let him keep the gold medal if the USOC would have the US team doctors accept responsibility for the error, but the USOC refused. In 2001 the USOC finally accepted responsibility and asked the IOC to restore DeMont’s gold medal but the IOC would not do so.
In 1973 Rick DeMont went to Belgrade, Yugoslavia for the 1st World Aquatics Championships. In the final of the 400 metre freestyle, he defeated Cooper, breaking the world record and becoming the first swimmer to better four minutes for the 400 free, recording 3:58.18. He also won silver there in the 1,500 freestyle. DeMont attended college at the University of Washington (1973-75) and the University of Arizona (1977-79). He later became a swim coach at the University of Arizona and an accomplished artist. DeMont is a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the University of Arizona Athletic Hall of Fame, and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.
|Discipline (Sport) / Event
|NOC / Team
|1972 Summer Olympics
|400 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic)
|1,500 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic)