Sharron Davies asks world swimming governing body to hand over retrospective gold medal

Olympic medalist Sharron Davies has called on world swimming’s governing body to return the retrospective gold she lost to an East German drug cheat in 1980.

Davies had to settle for silver when Petra Schneider won the 400m individual medley in Moscow four decades ago.

Last year, Schneider admitted doping as part of a systemic, state-sponsored cheating scheme.

And, speaking ahead of the International Swimming Federation’s Extraordinary General Congress in Budapest on Sunday, Davies urged FINA’s new Aquatic Integrity Unit to deliver the justice promised to those robbed by the est- German in the 1970s and 1980s.

“FINA has this new unit that they are bringing together to look at issues of ethics and governance to try to correct things that have been done wrong. So we hope medals are a problem that we can offer them. The IOC (International Olympic Committee) does not want to admit that what he did was so wrong. They want to pretend it didn’t happen and they keep throwing that line about past time all these years later.

“Well, they could have fixed all that as soon as the Berlin Wall came down and they chose not to.” All the evidence of East German doping was there.

Sharron Davies has called on world swimming’s governing body to return the retrospective gold medal she lost at the 1980 Olympics in the 400m individual medley

Davies (left) finished second in the event behind East Germany's Petra Schneider, who last year confessed to doping as part of a systematic Germany-sponsored cheating scheme State.

Davies (left) finished second in the event behind East Germany’s Petra Schneider, who last year confessed to doping as part of a systematic Germany-sponsored cheating scheme State.

“So we are always pushing for that. And it’s not just me who’s affected.

“Michelle Ford is the only person I know who was not from the Eastern bloc to have won a medal in swimming in Moscow and she would have won a few other medals. I would have also won another bronze medal in the relay and we are trying to solve this problem.

“FINA has a congress this weekend and I’m not sure how productive it is. But we are able to put some things in front of this new integrity unit and hopefully they will release their new trans-athlete policy on Sunday. , then will start looking at what happened with the medals in the GDR era.

Reawarding medals is on FINA’s agenda, with swimming chiefs also set to clarify their stance on biological men competing in women’s categories after trans athlete Lia Thomas beat opposition and beat records at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships in Atlanta.

Davies won two Commonwealth gold medals in swimming for England, but missed a number of medals between 1975 and 1985 when his swimming rivals were encouraged to take anabolic steroids and hormone-reducing drugs by the East German Swimming Federation.

Schneider, who won ten-second gold in Moscow, is said to be suffering from liver and heart problems, while Rica Reinisch, another gold medalist, claims he was given steroids when he was 12 and is now suffering ovarian cysts.

Davies called for justice for those who lost medals to East German athletes including Schneider (pictured) in the 1970s and 1980s through the drug program

Davies called for justice for those who lost medals to East German athletes including Schneider (pictured) in the 1970s and 1980s through the drug program

Openly opposing biological men who seek to suppress their hormones to win medals in women’s sport, Davies fears a new generation is destined to suffer the same sense of injustice she felt after Moscow. “I don’t know if you will ever be able to atone for what happened,” she told Sportsmail. “The other day I was asked to film a slot for Question of Sport on the BBC. I was one of the boxes on screen and the clues were that I had been to three different Olympics at the over three different decades.

“My first was in 1976, my last was in 1992 in Barcelona. And when I won my silver medal in Moscow, the question was what year was it?

“I was thinking, ‘Do I still have to say when I won my silver?’ It still bothers me a lot because it should have been gold. I’m featured on TV and on the BBC before 2012 they featured all the living gold medalists from the Olympics.

“Colin Murray, bless his little cotton socks, said he was going to interview me on the same basis, which I thought was great.

“Even when I talk to the boys at events for the BBC, they always talk to me like I’m a silver medalist and I think, ‘You know the truth, you know what happened. It’s a very frustrating situation. I don’t want anyone to physically take away Petra’s medals. But they could reissue them or issue new medals or they could change the record. They could work things out.

“Kathy Smallwood-Cook was a phenomenal athlete who was always behind the East Germans and no one knows how good she really was.

Davies missed a number of medals between 1975 and 1985 when his rivals were encouraged to take anabolic steroids and hormone reducing drugs

Davies missed a number of medals between 1975 and 1985 when his rivals were encouraged to take anabolic steroids and hormone reducing drugs

“And then there was swimmer Ann Osgerby, who was fourth to three East Germans in the 100m butterfly. No one knows what she has done now. All these people lost.

Looking back on gold isn’t just a personal thing. His father and former trainer Terry is now 86 and continues to train at Hemel Hemstead three times a week. For exposing the East German swimming scandal, he was kicked out of Britain’s coaching staff for the Olympics where his own daughter was robbed of the gold.

“It’s my father that I feel,” adds Davies. “He was ostracized for doing what I do now and speaking out against injustice in sport.

“He was literally never chosen as an international coach and didn’t go to the Olympics where I won my medal.

“It happened just because he spoke. Everyone knew it was happening, everyone around the pool scene knew it. It would mean the world to Dad to right this wrong.