Enith Brigitha

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Enith Brigitha
Enith Brigitha 1972.jpg
Personal information
Full nameEnith Sijtje Maria Brigitha
National teamNetherlands
Born (1955-04-04) 4 April 1955 (age 64)
Willemstad, Curaçao
StrokesFreestyle, backstroke

Enith Sijtje Maria Brigitha (born 15 April 1955) was a leading competitive swimmer in the 1970s. She twice represented the Netherlands twice at the Summer Olympics, starting in 1972 (Munich, West Germany). She won two bronze medals at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in the women's 100 m and 200 m freestyle. Brigitha twice was named 'Dutch Sportswoman of the Year', in 1973 and 1974. She was the first black athlete to win a swimming medal in the Olympics.[1][2]

East Germany doping controversy[edit]

In the 100m freestyle, Brigitha finished behind two swimmers from East Germany, a country proven to have engaged in systematic doping of its athletes in the Montreal 1976 Olympic games.[3] As a result, other athletes have called for Brigitha to be officially awarded the gold in the 100m freestyle and silver in the 200m freestyle. Brigitha has said she considers herself a gold medal winner.[2]

American Shirley Babashoff, who would have earned three individual golds were it not for the East Germans, has been outspoken about this issue. She supports Brigitha and swimmers from other countries who were adversely affected by the East German illegal practices.[4]


  1. ^ "Enith Brigitha" Archived 2012-07-18 at the Wayback Machine, Sports Reference
  2. ^ a b Mike Gustafson (2012-02-15) "Acknowledging Enith Brigitha", USA Swimming
  3. ^ Brent Rutemiller (2013-11-28) "Doping's Darkest Hour", Swimming World Magazine
  4. ^ Brent Rutemiller (2016-02-05) "Babashoff Breaks Silence", Swimming World Magazine
Preceded by
Ans van Gerven
Dutch Sportswoman of the Year
Succeeded by
Dianne de Leeuw