Dear FINA Board Members:
In December of 2013, Swimming World Magazine made the decision to strip its World and European Swimmer of the Year titles awarded to any East German (DDR) female swimmer dating back to 1973. The magazine is revisiting how it might reallocate those awards.
The decision to strip those titles generated many comments and discussions within the swimming community worldwide. Almost everyone agreed that the systematic doping of athletes by the East German government affected the Olympics medal standings.
Swimming World acknowledged that the DDR women were just as much victims as were the swimmers who were cheated out of winning medals and their place in history. In an article running parallel to Swimming World's campaign, SwimVortex.com noted the difference between perpetrators of crime and victims of a crime who won medals as a result of the system they were a part of. The fact that there were victims on both sides of the podium goes to the core of the IOC’s dilemma in rectifying history.
On behalf of the swimming community worldwide, we are calling on FINA to recognize all victims during this dark period in Olympic history and to lobby the International Olympic Committee to take similar action.
When Nelson Mandela passed away of late, his story reminded us all of the need to acknowledge the past and then leave it in the past so that reconciliation and healing can take place and a new beginning made. Without acknowledgement, swimming cannot move on.
We therefore ask the following:
1. That FINA acknowledge that the aquatic records were tainted during the DDR era.
2. That FINA acknowledge that there were victims on both sides of the podium.
3. That FINA place an asterisk next to all DDR era swimmers, explaining that they were unknowingly doped.
4. That FINA acknowledge a second tier of new medal standings (consisting of those not recognized) alongside the existing standings of DDR victims.
5. That FINA not ask for DDR swimmers to return their medals.
6. That FINA award duplicate medals to those athletes who have a new standing.
7. That FINA remove from its list of Pin winners all GDR officials, including the convicted Dr Lothar Kipke, a former Medical Commission delegate who was found guilty of harm to minors in the German doping trials of the late 1990s.
The 5th and 6th requests to FINA could be the most impactful for all parties and victims. We cannot think of anything more powerful, emotional and meaningful than FINA staging a medal ceremony during the 2015 World Championships. A ceremony of this nature speaks to all that is good about forgiveness, sportsmanship and above all the spirit of humanity. It is in that ideal that we also ask the following:
8. That FINA stage an event where those who are affected by the reordering of the medals meet with the DDR women in a spirit of sportsmanship, consolation, and forgiveness
Brent T. Rutemiller Craig Lord
Publisher: Swimming World Magazine Publisher: SwimVortex