Curaçao-born Enith Brigitha inducted into International Swimming Hall of Fame

Enith Brigitha_Hall of Fame

A post by Peter Jordens: Antilliaans Dagblad reports that Enith Brigitha has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

“Some gold medals did not come my way for reasons we all know now, such as the drug use of my rivals. However, the gold has now reached me in the form of this induction into the Hall of Fame,” says Enith Brigitha, the well-known Dutch swimmer born in Curaçao. The festivities of her induction took place during an international swimming competition in the George Haines International Aquatic Center, south of San Francisco, California. “I am very proud of my success,” she said after a video of her accomplishments was shown. “But I would also like to credit my success to my ancestors, especially my mother and grandmothers. They are my heroes in many respects. My grandmother with Dutch roots led her family through the difficult years of the Depression and World War II. She taught me to have optimism, dedication and tact.” But her other, Curaçaoan grandmother was also important to her: “My grandmother with Afro-Curaçaoan roots felt slavery still nearby. She experienced poverty, deprivation and brutality. She gave me physical and emotional strength, self-confidence and courage.”

For the complete, original article (in Dutch), go to or Also see (in English):

About Enith Brigitha: Born in Curaçao in 1955, Enith Brigitha moved to the Netherlands along with her mother and four brothers when she was fifteen. In the 1970s she enjoyed nearly a full decade in swimming as a bona fide star. She set 97 Dutch national records, won 21 Dutch national titles, and was twice named Dutch Sportswoman of the Year. She also won 11 individual medals in the Olympics and World and European Championships in an era mostly dominated by swimmers from the German Democratic Republic. She was usually beaten by East German swimmers, many of whom later admitted to doping use. She was the first person of color to perform at such a high level in international swimming and has the distinction of being the first person of African descent to win Olympic swimming medals (two bronze medals at the 1976 Montreal Olympics).

Sources: and

For more about Enith Brigitha (in English), see: Enith Brigitha – First black woman to win Olympic Gold in a world without the GDR?, by John Lohn, December 18, 2014,; The place in history denied to Dutch ace Enith Brigitha, by John Lohn, January 4, 2014,; Acknowledging Enith Brigitha, by Mike Gustafson, February 15, 2012,

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