| Event type

400 metres Individual Medley, Women

Date24 July 1976
LocationPiscine olympique, Montréal, Québec
Participants20 from 9 countries

Ulrike Tauber was considered the best individual medley swimmer in the world, setting five world records over both distance since 1974, and winning both IMs at the 1974 Europeans and the 1975 World Championships. But nobody expected this, as Swimming World compared her performance in the final of this event to Bob Beamon’s long jump at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. The world record prior to Montréal was held by Tauber’s teammate Birgit Treiber, with 4:48.79. In the 400 IM final that was bettered by Canada’s Cheryl Gibson, won won silver with 4:48.10. She was 5.33 seconds behind Tauber.

Tauber led the opening butterfly leg by almost a full second, opened up by two seconds over Gibson on the backstroke, and then opened the lead to 5.55 seconds after the breaststroke, Gibson still comfortably in second. Tauber then cruised home in 1:04.77 for the freestyle, actually losing a bit of ground to the Canadian, but winning by over 15 metres. Behind Gibson her teammate Becky Smith won the bronze medal, while Treiber trailed in fourth. David Wallechinsky, in The Complete Book of the Olympics, notes Tauber was later revealed to have been given steroids from 1974 to 1980.

1Ulrike TauberGDR4:51.24 (1 h3)4:42.77 (1)Gold
2Cheryl GibsonCAN4:55.30 (2 h3)4:48.10 (2)Silver
3Becky SmithCAN4:52.90 (1 h1)4:50.48 (3)Bronze
4Birgit TreiberGDR4:57.39 (1 h4)4:52.40 (4)
5Sabine KahleGDR4:56.85 (2 h2)4:53.50 (5)
6Donnalee WennerstromUSA4:55.16 (1 h2)4:55.34 (6)
7Joann BakerCAN4:58.86 (2 h4)5:00.19 (7)
8Monique RodahlNZL4:58.47 (3 h3)5:00.21 (8)
9Judith HudsonAUS5:00.25 (2 h1)
10Susan HunterNZL5:03.82 (3 h4)
11Susan RichardsonGBR5:06.39 (4 h3)
12Colette CrabbeBEL5:06.87 (4 h4)
13Lynne RoweNZL5:09.21 (3 h2)
14Anne AdamsGBR5:09.60 (3 h1)
15Jeanne HaneyUSA5:10.53 (5 h3)
16Ann BradshawGBR5:10.82 (4 h1)
17Nataliya PopovaURS5:15.75 (4 h2)
18Pierrette MichelBEL5:15.86 (6 h3)
19Allison SmithAUS5:17.51 (5 h1)
20Nancy DeañoPHI5:34.89 (6 h1)
DNSShirley BabashoffUSA– (DNS h2)
DNSSusanne NielssonDEN– (DNS h4)
DNSGabriella VerrasztóHUN– (DNS h4)
DNSSansanee ChangkasiriTHA– (DNS h4)

Round One (24 July 1976 — 11:15)

Fastest eight advanced to the final.

Heat One

14Becky SmithCAN4:52.90QOR
25Judith HudsonAUS5:00.25
36Anne AdamsGBR5:09.60
42Ann BradshawGBR5:10.82
53Allison SmithAUS5:17.51
67Nancy DeañoPHI5:34.89

Heat Two

13Donnalee WennerstromUSA4:55.16Q
24Sabine KahleGDR4:56.85Q
32Lynne RoweNZL5:09.21
46Nataliya PopovaURS5:15.75
DNS5Shirley BabashoffUSA

Heat Three

14Ulrike TauberGDR4:51.24QOR
25Cheryl GibsonCAN4:55.30Q
32Monique RodahlNZL4:58.47Q
46Susan RichardsonGBR5:06.39
53Jeanne HaneyUSA5:10.53
67Pierrette MichelBEL5:15.86

Heat Four

14Birgit TreiberGDR4:57.39Q
25Joann BakerCAN4:58.86Q
32Susan HunterNZL5:03.82
47Colette CrabbeBEL5:06.87
DNS6Susanne NielssonDEN
DNS3Gabriella VerrasztóHUN
DNS1Sansanee ChangkasiriTHA

Final (24 July 1976 — 20:00)

14Ulrike TauberGDR4:42.77WR
26Cheryl GibsonCAN4:48.10
35Becky SmithCAN4:50.48
47Birgit TreiberGDR4:52.40
52Sabine KahleGDR4:53.50
63Donnalee WennerstromUSA4:55.34
78Joann BakerCAN5:00.19
81Monique RodahlNZL5:00.21