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The third one: West-Berlin – 1978

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Photo: Sports Illustrated

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After South America, the swimming sport of the world came back to Europe, but the United States still dominated during the World Championships.

Participants of the World Championships grew with more than 140 athletes after Cali 1975, 828 athletes got accreditation to the 3rd FINA World Championships. The team of East Germany was very succesful at the two previous events, so they might haven’t been happy to see that West Germany organised the third World Championships.

18 competition for men and 19 for women were held in West Berlin like before and the schedule was also the same at the coming world championships in Ecuador.

Third WC wasn’t as succesful for German athletes - all together-  as before. They collected only two gold medals: one for West, one for East Germany which is much less than the collection from Cali (11 gold medals) or from Belgrade (13 gold medals).

The dominant nation became the Unites States, because they won 23 gold, 14 silver and 7 bronze medals. This wonderful statistic resulted the first position on the medal rankings of course.  The Soviet Union was the second best nation (6-4-6), Canada got the third place (3-1-5).  The Hungarian team only came up with three medals (two in  swimming, one in water polo).

16 nations gained medals in total in West Berlin.

Let’s see the heroes!

Swimming – Tracy Caulkins’ parade

The United States won 11 gold medals of 15, but there were some great figures in this event beside them. For example Vladimir Salnikov from Soviet Union. His nickname was „car of the pool” or „Leningrad Express”, not by accident. He won 400 m and 1500 m freestyle, and now he is a members of the  FINA Bureau.

Graham Smith from Canada won 200 m individual medley and got silver medal in 100 m breaststroke so he also could be proud of himself. Hungarian swimmers reached only two medals in the swimming competition. World champions of Cali (Zoltán Verrasztó and András Hargitay) won bronze medals (200 m backstroke and 400 m individual medley).

The East German Dominance of the women competiton has ended in West Berlin (Barbara Krause won the only gold medals, but she got three silver medals), the athletes of United States became the new stars in Germany (9 gold medals included the three relay event). Beside them Australian Tracey Wickham achived a nice result, she won 400 m and 800 m freestyle.

The biggest star of this event was Tracy Caulkins (United States) with 5 gold (200 m butterfly, 200 m, 400 m individual medley, 4x100 m medley relay) and 1 silver medals.

Here is a summary in russian about West Berlin, narrated by Lina Kaciusyte (winner of 200 m breaststroke):

This video is about greatness of Tracy Caulkins:

Diving – new superstar is on the horizon

One of the biggest super star of all time  in the history of diving, Greg Louganis achived his first world title this year (10 metre). Two years earlier he got the second place at Montreal Olympic Games behind the Italian giant, Dibiasi. Louganis then won the 3 and 10 metre gold in the next two WC and become four times olympic champion.

Phil Boggs (who died very young in 1990) from United States got the gold medal in 3 metre while in the women competition Irina Kalinina become the champion in both event.

Synchro – dominance of Canada

Gold medals went to Canada in solo and in duet but United States won the team competition. Beside these two nations, Japan reached the podium in all three competitions.

Water polo – Italian gold, Hungarian sorrow

The Hungarian Olympic champion team of Montreal 1976, a was not able to win the gold medal in West Berlin, Italy got it. The two favourite teams played draw against each other and beside this 4-4 two other draws were played by both teams so the goal differences decided the final standings. Yugoslavia was the bronze medalist of this World Championships.