April 18, 2020
USA Swimming has sponsored the production of "The Last Gold", a documentary exploring the controversy surrounding the systematic anabolic steroid doping of the East German athlets in the 1970's, and how it led to a disproportionate acceleration of performance of their female swimmers.
One reason I favor this documentary is it allows space to acknowledge the wrongs committed against young East German female athletes by a governmental system that politicized sport on a Cold War stage. I've always heard of the 1976 controversy as a swimmer and young coach, but it was delivered through a lense that villified the athletes who were doped without their knowledge, according to some of those athletes.
A warning of censorhip regarding an anti-doping attorney's remark near 24:30 in the documentary: while describing the masculinization effects of the steroids on women, he includes a description of change in genitalia. As a parent myself, I suggest you pre-screen this section of the film (if not the entire film) to decide how you will proceed in letting your children watch it, or skip over it. I believe he is sensitive and factual, and he acknowledges potential insensitivity of the remark seconds before making the statement.
I did find the rest of the film to be appropriate across all ages, yet the complexities of the Cold War, East vs West Germany (and Berlin), drug abuse of athletes, and emotional impacts on various individuals who suffered at the hands of this systematic doping may very well require parental guidance for our younger swimmers.
Depending on your own sensitivities, this film can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride. It definitely bubbled up some emotion in me as it was the most in-depth exploration of all involved in the controversy of women's 1976 Olympic Swimming.
The link is below and the password is "lastgold2016"