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Michelle Smith

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 3
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 4
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexFemale
Full nameMichelle Marie•Smith (-De Bruin)
Used nameMichelle•Smith
Born16 December 1969 in Rathcoole County (IRL)
Measurements160 cm / 71 kg
NOC Ireland

Biography

By a wide margin, Michelle Smith is both the most successful Irish Olympian as well as the most controversial Irish Olympian. After fairly unremarkable appearances at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics, Michelle Smith was now coached by her husband, former Dutch discus thrower Erik de Bruin. She had made a breakthrough at the 1995 European Championships, winning two titles and three medals in all, the first ever for an Irish woman. Her sudden improvement in performance immediately caused various doping rumours, which could not be substantiated. With her husband being suspended for doping use in 1993, these rumours persisted throughout the Atlanta Games, where Smith won four medals, including titles in both medley events and the 400 m freestyle. Her title in the latter event was also controversial because the Americans had lodged a protest claiming Smith had been entered the race after the deadline, but the protest was not upheld. Smith won two more European titles in 1997, before her career came to a sudden halt in January 1998. In an out-of-competition drug test, she handed in a urine sample that had been tampered with. This was considered to be equal to a positive sample, and she was suspended for four years, effectively ending her career.

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1988 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) IRL Michelle Smith
100 metres Backstroke, Women (Olympic) 27
200 metres Backstroke, Women (Olympic) 17
200 metres Individual Medley, Women (Olympic) 26
400 metres Individual Medley, Women (Olympic) 25
1992 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) IRL Michelle Smith
200 metres Backstroke, Women (Olympic) 35
200 metres Individual Medley, Women (Olympic) 32
400 metres Individual Medley, Women (Olympic) 26
1996 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) IRL Michelle Smith
400 metres Freestyle, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
200 metres Butterfly, Women (Olympic) 3 Bronze
200 metres Individual Medley, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold
400 metres Individual Medley, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1992 Summer Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony IRL Michelle Smith

Olympic family relations

Special Notes