The Con of Michelle Smith: How the Irish Lass Cheated the Swimming World (#2 Most-Read Article in 2021)

Swimming World June 2021- Takeoff To Tokyo - How Irelands Michelle Smith Became A Poster GIrl For Cheating

The Con of Michelle Smith: How the Irish Lass Cheated the Swimming World

(From May’s Swimming World Magazine)

Her presence on the international stage was inconsequential. She didn’t affect the makeup of podiums. She didn’t influence any championship finals. At least, that’s the way the career of Michelle Smith unfolded for most of the years she represented Ireland in global competition.

But at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, Smith shined as one of the most successful athletes in Atlanta. To some, her story was about a meteoric rise, a late bloomer rewarded for patience and persistence. Others, though, knew better. This sudden surge was about something entirely different – and suspicious.

Between the 1988 (Seoul) and 1992 (Barcelona) Olympics, Smith represented Ireland in seven individual events, never advancing out of the preliminary heats. A best finish of 17th in the 200-meter backstroke in 1988 defined Smith as nothing more than an also-ran, and her performances from 1992 – which featured a top finish of 26th in the 400-meter individual medley – once again rendered Smith, then a 22-year-old, as inconsequential on the international stage.

Smith was an athlete who may have dedicated herself to her aquatic endeavors and put forth 100% during training sessions. But the sports world is made up of athletes who span the spectrum of talent, and Smith landed somewhere in the very-good sector. She was gifted enough to earn coveted Olympic berths, but not blessed with the skill to naturally appear on an international podium.

03 Michelle Smith 1996 Olympics by Tim Morse 2 copy1

Photo Courtesy: Tim Morse

If Smith was an insignificant factor through the 1992 Olympics, the same could not be said of the Irishwoman by the time of the 1994 World Championships in Rome. By that point, Smith was training with Dutchman Erik de Bruin, a two-time Olympic discus thrower who had been handed a four-year ban in 1993 by the International Amateur Athletic Association (IAAF) for a failed doping test.

De Bruin, who Smith married in 1996, possessed a unique view of doping, and the advantages provided by the practice. The Dutchman identified disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson as an idol, despite Johnson being stripped of his gold medal in the 100-meter dash at the 1988 Seoul Olympics for a positive drug test. His words suggested a blind-eye approach to the potential boost of pharmaceutical assistance.

“Who says doping is unethical?” de Bruin once asked. “Who decides what is ethical? Is politics ethical? Is business ethical? Sport is, by definition, dishonest. Some people are naturally gifted, others have to work very hard. Some people are not going to make it without extra help.”

Because Smith was not yet capturing medals on the global stage, the improvements she made between the 1992 Olympics and 1994 World Championships did not send the Irishwoman into an interrogation room.

They should have.

In the two years between Barcelona and Rome, Smith registered improvements that were highly unusual for a fledgling age-group swimmer, let alone a woman in her mid-20s. In the 400-meter individual medley, Smith went from 26th out of 32 competitors in Barcelona to winning the consolation final in Rome. Her time in the event dropped by 11-plus seconds, an eternity in a sport where improvements are typically measured in fractions of a second. In the 200-meter individual medley, Smith notched a four-second improvement between 1992 and 1994, that jump enabling Smith to place 12th in prelims at the World Champs.

Perhaps the most startling of her performances at the 1994 World Championships arrived in the 200 butterfly, an event she didn’t even contest at the Olympic Games two years earlier. Racing the 200 fly for the first time in international waters, Smith placed fifth in the final. The effort came on the heels of a bout of glandular fever that disrupted her training in the months ahead of Rome. There was also a change in Smith’s physique, an alteration that could not be overlooked.

“It was a complete metamorphosis,” said Gary O’Toole, a two-time Olympian for Ireland. “The Michelle I remembered had been round and feminine and carried not a lot of excessive weight, but some. I looked at her and said, ‘My God, what have you been taking?’”

Michelle Smith

Photo Courtesy: Tim Morse

Smith’s notable progressions from 1994 were followed by greater success at the 1995 European Championships, which served as her true breakout competition. The meet was also the precursor for what would unfold at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Racing in Vienna, Austria, Smith left the European Champs with gold medals in the 200-meter butterfly and 200-meter individual medley, along with a silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley. Her times, just as they had in Rome, dipped considerably. Smith was a second quicker in the 200-meter butterfly and had improved by another four seconds in the 200-meter individual medley. In the 400-meter individual medley, Smith lopped five seconds off the time she managed in Rome.

With the 100th anniversary of the Modern Olympics approaching in 1996, there was no doubt that Smith would be a medal contender in multiple events. There was also little doubt among rival athletes that something was amiss. Competitors have a keen ability to sense anomalies in their foes, and Smith’s performances were off the charts. Her time drops were complemented by a vast change in her physique, a change that mirrored what was seen in East Germany’s swimmers during their country’s systematic-doping program of the 1970s and 1980s.

It didn’t take long in Atlanta for Smith to become one of the most-talked about stories of the Games. On the opening night of action, Smith blew away the field in the 400-meter individual medley, her winning time of 4:39.18 almost three seconds faster than American silver medalist Allison Wagner, and just under 20 seconds quicker than what Smith posted in the previous Olympiad. Two days later, Smith won her second gold medal, taking the 400-meter freestyle in 4:07.25. The event was relatively new for Smith, whose best at the start of the year was a mere 4:26.

Aside from the 19-second improvement within the year, there was additional controversy tied to the 400 freestyle. Not originally entered in the 400-meter freestyle, officials allowed Smith to participate in the event despite the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) missing the entry deadline. It was argued, ultimately before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), that the Irish Olympic Committee was given incorrect entry information. With Smith entered, American distance legend Janet Evans finished ninth in the preliminary heats and failed to advance to the final. USA Swimming protested Smith’s inclusion, but to no avail. Smith’s late registration for the 400-meter freestyle was complemented by allegations of doping by Smith.

“The Americans are jealous this swimmer from a little country like Ireland took a gold medal off them,” said Pat Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, referring to the 400 IM. “They are doing all they can to get Michelle Smith thrown out. They couldn’t win by appeal, so they are trying another direction with their suggestions about drug taking. There is nothing to justify it.”

02 Michelle Smith with Bill Clinton (1996 Olympics) by Tim Morse1

Photo Courtesy: Tim Morse

There were black and white numbers which provided just cause for raised eyebrows. As Smith was congratulated by United States President Bill Clinton for her achievements, several athletes spoke freely about what they were witnessing. Included in that group was Evans, who was racing in her third Olympiad in Atlanta.

“Are you asking me if she’s on drugs?” Evans said. “Any time someone has a dramatic improvement there’s that question. I have heard that question posed in the last few weeks about that swimmer. If you’re asking if the accusations are out there, I would say yes.”

As allegations flew, Smith continued to flourish, winning her third gold medal in the 200-meter individual medley, and adding a bronze medal in the 200-meter butterfly in her final race. Not surprisingly, Smith became a national hero, citizens of her homeland hailing her accomplishments while ignoring the suspect circumstances surrounding her rise.

The next year, Smith starred at the 1997 European Championships in Seville, Spain. She won her prime event, the 400-meter individual medley, and claimed silver medals in the 400-meter freestyle and 200-meter butterfly. There was also a gold medal in the 200-meter freestyle, her first in that event in international competition.

For all the success Smith had experienced, she had proven to be difficult to monitor outside of the pool. On several occasions, drug testers had been unable to identify the whereabouts of Smith to perform doping-control tests, and Smith’s unwillingness to cooperate with doping procedures triggered rebukes from FINA, the world governing body of swimming. Still, she remained eligible to compete and skirt the doping system.

Until the morning of January 10, 1998.

While the World Championships were unfolding in Perth, Australia, Smith was absent from the competition, having suffered injuries in a car accident a few months earlier. But doping officials decided to collect an out-of-competition test from Smith, which follows normal procedure. When the doping officials arrived at Smith’s residence, they were forced to stop their car at a padlocked gate. Eventually, Smith walked down the driveway, unlocked the gate and let the testers into her home.

Over the course of the morning, and with Smith’s husband present, testers tried to obtain a urine sample from the athlete. Smith’s husband initially indicated the couple was set to travel that morning and Smith did not have time to produce a sample. When testers noted they could travel with the couple and would wait until the athlete was ready, the trip was suddenly called off.

In two separate instances, Smith provided a urine sample, initially filling the testing vial shy of the necessary amount to be collected. When she came back the second time, the doping officials recognized the smell of whiskey emanating from the sample. The officials had Smith complete the appropriate paperwork and filed the sample. In April 1998, it was revealed that Smith faced suspension not for a failed doping test, but for tampering with a sample. The amount of whiskey found in Smith’s sample was enough to cause human fatality.

In August 1998, Smith was banned by FINA for four years for tampering with a doping sample. Smith appealed the ban, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the penalty in 1999, although the ruling allowed Smith to retain her Olympic medals. To this day, Smith has maintained the innocence she proclaimed in her statement following the confirmation of her ban.

“I am deeply saddened by the decision of the court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and in particular their decision to prefer circumstantial evidence concerning the manipulation charge as distinct from direct evidence given by me at the hearing of my appeal,” Smith said. “I today stand and accused of having used banned substances over the course of my career and that was the motive found by the court as to why I would have attempted to manipulate the sample in question.

“I reaffirm what I have always told you, that I have never used any banned substances in the course of my career, nor have I ever been charged by FINA of using any banned substance in the course of my career. I am proud of what I have achieved and assure those who have supported me and believe in me, that my victories in Atlanta and Seville are not hollow and have been achieved without the use of any illegal performance enhancing substance.

“Both I and my husband have been publicly attacked and vilified by various sections of the media and public since I won my first gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics and that makes me deeply unhappy. I still believe that I have been targeted by FINA since my Olympic success and believe that I am, even today, correct in that view, having regard to the disclosures made for the first time by the Irish Times of the background to the Out of Competition Doping Control missions that were carried out on me in 1997 and 1998.

“I will forever cherish my moments of victory and hope that those who still believe in me will also cherish their memories of those times.”

The future for Smith following her ban included a life away from the spotlight she knew as an athlete, and a career as a barrister in Ireland. Her time, too, has been defined as being a poster girl for cheating, and by the willingness to cut corners and take advantage of performance-enhancing drug use to make the leap from an athlete of very-good skill to one of elite status.


  1. avatar

    I was on the Irish Olympic team in 92 and 96 and most of knew she was a doper. She was not that great of a swimmer but she knew not to dope around the games

    • avatar

      Maybe she started doing what the rest were already doing, resulting in a level playing field. All this sanctimonious crap, all athletes are at it.

      • avatar
        Peter Stasiuk

        You are incorrect to say that “the rest” were doping and that is was ok to create a level playing field. You have completely forgotten about the majority of athletes. The majority of athletes from previous generations (including myself) were clean athletes. We had no chance of ever competing with these cheaters. Many clean athletes were cheated out of medals and out of spots on national teams. I might have been the national record holder in my track and field event and gone to the Olympics if I had just cheated with steroids for a few years. I could have cheated a deserving athlete out of a spot on that Olympic team. The cheaters weren’t levelling the playing field. They were making it so that only the cheaters could be the top ranked athletes. It is wrong and you can’t successfully justify it no matter how much you use the word “santicmonious”. And since the word means making a show of being morally superior, I will say this. If you think it’s ok to cheat than I don’t need to be sanctimonious to make a show of being morally superior. I AM morally superior, to you at least. And you and others like you who just justify cheating are part of what is wrong with the world.

    • avatar

      Thought there was no one other than Michelle who was on Irish swim team in both Barcelona and Atlanta??

      • avatar

        Too many Anonymous people commenting. A simple Wikipedia (or Google, etc.) search would have resolved that…of course she wasn’t the only person in the Irish team….though in Barcelona it was the aging Gary O’Toole who was her only partner…Atlanta was obviously more popular! 🙂

      • avatar

        The poster didn’t say “Irish swim team”, just “Irish Team”

    • avatar


      • avatar

        Yes a case of the Americans
        being bad losers

    • avatar
      James Nickoloff

      It would be helpful if you would identify yourself as a member of the Irish team and as someone who knew Smith personally. Same for the commenters. We are all adults and should take responsibility for our views.

    • avatar

      She was juiced to the gills lol

  2. avatar

    It’s more than sad she got to keep those medals, especially after missing that many doping tests. Unconscionable, really.

    • avatar
      Tony Ebanks

      She escaped because of white privilege. If she was a woman of color like Marion Jones, she would have her medals taken away. This shows white people are afraid to punish white people but will not hesitate to punish other races

      • avatar
        James Smith

        Many athletes of colour have escaped punishment for a failed dope test. Linford Christie is a great example. Michelle Smith didn’t fail any test.

        Why do small minded people bring everything down to race?

    • avatar
      Aisling Myers

      Totally agree

      • avatar
        James Nickoloff

        James Smith: Michelle Smith may not have failed any test, but did she ever agree to take one that was legitimate?

      • avatar

        If ever there was an example of how
        tainted Olympic medals have become
        this story underlines it fully. The IOC
        didn’t even have the guts to demand
        she return her ‘ill gotten’ gains……

  3. Mike Mcgowan

    I saw her swim in 96. She had some serious lats . I read the story of her climb to the top. As I was reading it kept asking the same question HOW IN THE HELL DID THE POWERS THAT BE NOT SEE OR IGNORE. The signs were all around.

    • avatar

      Think Flojo!

  4. Dick Beaver

    Why do you keep posting this crap , especially while our trials are still on.

    • avatar

      Yes, I agree. Seems like a vendetta – what about the other “dopers” from other countries? Including the USA???

  5. avatar

    Please confirm if she actually tested positive or was tested at all during the 1996 Olympics ?

    Didn’t Amy van Dyken also have a big Olympics that year ?

    • avatar

      What about the 4th place finishers and silver medalists eg Wagner, Lampert and malar whose dreams were crushed by this doping?

    • avatar

      She never tested positive during the 96 Olympics, which is why she has kept her medals. Notice too that in her statement she said “I have never used any banned substances in the course of my career…” That suggests to me that she may allegedly have used other performance enhancing substances which may not have been illegal at that time. Only she knows.

      • avatar
        Nick Chaves

        That’s exactly my thoughts. She never used illegal performance enhancing drugs that were on the list. That doesn’t mean she didn’t use something else.

  6. avatar
    John Cooney

    There’s a mixture of fact & fiction in that article

    A change in physical appearance & improvement can also result from better diet & more professional & dedicated training regimes.

    Fact: she never tested positive despite being tested many times.

    Of course the urine sample & improved times will raise questions however nothing has been proved beyond any reasonable doubt & remains speculative.

    • avatar

      I agree with the fact, she never tested positive. Michelle Smith was subject to the same testing as all the other competitors. It was a level playing field at that time.

      • avatar
        Tony Ebanks

        The report stated she managed to avoid being tested

    • avatar

      19 seconds! FFS. Don’t be so naive.

    • avatar
      John P

      Well said John Cooney and Beeman. We are the biggest load of be grudgers in this country. Doping alone cannot make you a champion swimmer, you must first have talent and train to a professional level. Obviously the comment “she wasn’t a good swimmer ” hasn’t an clue of what actually doping gives you. (don’t think there is a doping product that improves your swimming technique for the competition)
      The comments by Garry O Toole sound’s like a bit of sour grapes also, if we were to brand people dopers due to their change in shape and appearance, then we would all be in trouble.
      Michelle did not improve over night but i believe she moved to America to train full time so as to be in keeping with her competition.
      America’s golden girl at the time had also a case of sour grapes along with their swimming federation – but no one believes that these people are in positions of power to tarnish Michelle’s rep and dethrone her????
      What disappointed me is we never have her the benefit of the doubt, but we sold her down the river and dis owned her at the first accusation.
      I think this article is very poor – what has happened to investigative journalism – Why don’t they look at who were the testers that say she tapered with the sample – see if there is a connection to America olympic team or their golden girl evans.
      I for one am extreamly proud of Michelle Smith and what she achieved and until she is proved without a shadow of a doubt that she cheated – SHE IS AN OLYMPIC LEGEND

      • avatar

        Michelle Smith’s father taught his daughters how to swim, and Smith was first spotted by a lifeguard in Tallaght swimming pool at age 9. He suggested that Smith’s father enroll his daughter in a swimming club. Smith joined Terenure Swimming Club and trained under the tutelage of Larry Williamson. Smith won the Dublin and All-Ireland Community Games at aged 9. She then won ten gold medals at a novice competition. She enrolled in the King’s Hospital Swimming Club in 1980. At aged 14, Smith won ten medals at the Irish National Swimming Championships. At 14, she became National Junior and Senior Champion and dominated Irish women’s swimming until her retirement in 1998.

        Smith first appeared on the world scene as an 18-year-old at the Seoul Olympics and only narrowly missed the B-final in the 200 m backstroke (top 16). Smith’s second major championship was at the 1991 World Championships in Perth, Australia, where she finished 13th in the 400 m individual medley. She competed at the 1991 European Championships and qualified for the 1992 Olympic Games. She competed in the 200 m medley and backstroke and 400 m medley in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, despite suffering an injury in the months leading up to the Games. In 1993 she trained with Erik de Bruin, whom she had met in Barcelona. Both would start a relationship, and eventually marry in 1996.[2] She finished fifth in the 200 m butterfly at the 1994 World Championships. In that same year, she had suffered glandular fever, which affected her training prior to the World Championships.

        In 1995, Smith set Irish records in 50 m, 100 m, 400 m and 800 m freestyle, 100 m backstroke, 100 m and 200 m butterfly, and 200 m and 400 m medley events. She was ranked number 1 in 200 m butterfly, sixth in 100 m butterfly and seventh in 200 m medley; she made sporting history by becoming the first Irishwoman to win a European title in 200 m butterfly and the individual 400 m medley in the same year.

      • avatar
        Paul tuohy

        You are delusional dude. She s a doper , as are most but doesn’t excuse it , Lance Armstrong is by far the worst but that dont make her better , her husband is a known drug cheat , believe she’s clean and you really are beyond talking to

    • avatar

      Nothing speculative about it. There was enough alcohol in that sample it would hard killed a small horse. She cheated. She got caught. Case closed.

      • avatar

        First of all that’s not cheating she got banned for tampering with a sample she didn’t get banned and she never once popped dirty for a performance enhancing drug, whiskey is not a performance enhancement drug so what you’re saying is actually false if anything if she really did drink that much whiskey and it showed up in her urine test that would definitely altar & affect her swimming performances. It’s all speculative because she never once popped dirty for band substances, the IOC & FINA thought she was doping and there was many protests from other countries who thought she was stopping so they tried to find every excuse to throw the book at her and the only thing they were ever able to find was extremely high amounts of whiskey in her urine and stated she tampered with the drug sample but that still doesn’t mean she cheated.

      • avatar
        Tony Ebanks

        Why did she mix whiskey in the vial with urine or the urine mysteriously appeared in the sample bottle

    • avatar

      Yes but it’s like refusing to do a breathalyser test when drink driving & saying I was never found to be over the limit

    • avatar

      In Irish and English law you are considered innocent until proven guilty ,not once was Michelle’s test proved positive .the Americans (sour losers as always ) started the rumours of doping ,and everyone else jumped on the bandwagon .Fact ! Michelle never tested positive in competition or out of competition for any illegal substance .therefore she is entitled to keep the medals she won .
      By the way China had the oldest form of medicine in the world .the antidoping organisation can only test for drugs they know about ,I can guarantee you there are athletes from China who have been carefully medicated for years to achieve and nobody can stop them.

      • avatar
        Paul tuohy

        Doesn’t make it right

  7. avatar

    Exactly the girl never failed a test. How could she possibly beat that many tests? I always remember her that summer in 96. She lifted the whole nation.

    • avatar

      She did fail a test. She was banned. Good riddance.

    • avatar
      Paul tuohy

      Dear god. Next think you’ll be saying Lance Armstrong is a saint

  8. avatar

    Considering that America, China, Russia et al have been doping their athletes since way back and getting away with it why has Michelle DeBruin been singled out so often. Take for example Dame Kelly Holmes who won double gold. A very ordinary athlete who suddenly, out of nowhere, turned into a Marvel Superhero and won gold never has the light shone in her direction. Mo Salah is another. Even “The Great” Carl Lewis came from a club that was riddled with dopers and in between big competitions never showed form. The Yanks got round it by having a hands off testing regime before the trials. Athletics is full of doping but like it or not this has never been proved against Michelle Smith, Kelly Holmes, Mo Salah or Carl Lewis and god knows how many others.

    • avatar
      Stephen Kelly

      Kelly Holmes won medals in various championships in the 10 years up to 2004, inc a bronze in 2000. She didnt come out of nowhere .

      • avatar

        Yes she (D.Kelly Holmes) did. She had very limited minor success (silver, bronze) in her mid-20s in a couple of races and suddenly, when she turned 30(??), she won a bronze, followed by a number of years of success into her mid-30s (the noted and widely acknowledged prime age period for success in athletics at 800m and 1200m) culminating in 2 Olympic ’04 golds and numerous distance records (some of which still stand), followed, amazingly and of course, by absolutely nothing…like she disappeared. If THAT isn’t a red flag then FloJo was also a victim of disingenuous tabloid discriminatory slander.

    • avatar

      Mo Salah? Mean Farah?

    • avatar

      Kelly Holmes had a very progressive career. Nothing in her performance improvement would suggest any wrong doing.
      Don’t make accusations you can’t verify.
      Like all athletes, innocent until proven guilty.
      Speculation is the scourge of the Web.

    • avatar

      Mo salah I nearly pissed myself

  9. avatar

    Looking in to this whole story again given the week that’s in it, I never actually knew/remembered the bit about Janet Evans.

    Sounds like she tested positive herself…for sour grapes.

    What I do remember fondly though is Michelle’s homecoming afterwards to our small village and the sheer elation that came with it. And that, just like her medals, won’t be taken away either.

    • avatar
      Mark Summers

      Oh ok well as long as she made people happy I guess that’s all that counts isn’t it ….🙄

  10. avatar

    I was an amateur swimmer for years. You don’t shave
    10 secs of a personal best like that even with good diet etc. It takes years of training & competitions. She looked puffy like dopers do. She got away with as have countless Chinese, Russians, US & all the others who are clever enough not to get caught.

  11. avatar
    Patrick Murphy

    “Not surprisingly, Smith became a national hero, citizens of her homeland hailing her accomplishments while ignoring the suspect circumstances surrounding her rise.”
    This is a throw-away line that is a complete insult to the Irish people. Obviously, before we heard about her alleged cheating, we were delighted, as any nation would be. But since then, I would suggest that the vast majority of Irish consider her a cheat who disgraced our country and I would think that most people discount her medal ‘wins’.

    • avatar
      Mark Breen

      It was the best , and the worst, national pride and delight for Michelle’s achievements, followed by the disappointment and disgust to find out she was doping .
      When Cian O’Connor won gold , showjumping, the joke was that at least he couldn’t be accused of doping ………. unless …….. the horse was 🙈

    • avatar
      Mel Saich

      I had exactly the same comment. Of course we were thrilled at her success initially, but I would say the Irish public was sickened by her when her doping became clear. I feel sorry for the women denied their rightful medal as a result of Smith’s cheating.

  12. avatar

    I agree with “FFS 19 seconds, don’t be so niave” I don’t care who has and has not cheated in other countries, I would like Ireland’s medals to be untainted and I don’t believe Michelle Smith’s are, I think she cheated and there is no room for it in sports. Imagine you train and train and train and have someone who has found some new drug that hasn’t yet been banned and they win. Just because it hasn’t been banned doesn’t mean it isn’t cheating if you take it and if you read what MS says she always says she never took a banned substance, not that she never took a performance enhancing drug, just a “banned” one. It was v. emotional when she won those medals and I was cheering her on like everyone else, but after the emotion was gone and I stopped to think I thought, yep, another cheater wins. So unfair. I don’t know how these people can accept these accolades knowing they cheated. In my opinion yiu are a winner just getting to the games, you don’t need to win a medal to be a winner and she like so many others lost sight of that. Corny, I know, but itsntrue. Yayyyy to the Corknboys for their gold, achieved I believe by skill and alot of hard work.

    • avatar
      Paul tuohy

      Well said

  13. avatar
    Noel Lambe

    Everyone cheets, people won’t pay their taxes, people have affairs and politics of every persuasion lies.

  14. avatar

    Lance Armstrong also never tested positive.

    • avatar
      John p

      I think you’ll find that he failed 4 times in the 1999 tour de France for Corticosteriods, by ICU but was accepted the explation of using cream for saddle soreness the cause.

      Lets get all our facts straight.

      Michelle Smith never tested positive in any drug test. She was accused of tapering with a drug sample. The best way around this was reschedule a drug test a couple of days later at the place in which her family was to be holidaying. And prove without doubt whether or which. But it was all made common and publuc knowledge of the so called tappering scandel.

      Lets all be clear, she never fail a drug test, during a competition or off season. Her metals have never been taken off her. So as the saying goes innocent until proven guilty stands in most countries unless we live in a dictatorship.

      So please can all respect Michelle and her Family, and keep our acussations and abuse to a minimum.
      Be respectful and be kind, at the end of the day its only swimming and theres more to life than the olypics and swimming.

      • avatar
        Jim Torley

        I agree totally with these comments. In Ireland if you are accused of doping without any proof you are guilty in other countries you get made a “sir or a Dame”

  15. avatar

    Yes she (D.Kelly Holmes) did. She had very limited minor success (silver, bronze) in her mid-20s in a couple of races and suddenly, when she turned 30(??), she won a bronze, followed by a number of years of success into her mid-30s (the noted and widely acknowledged prime age period for success in athletics at 800m and 1200m) culminating in 2 Olympic ’04 golds and numerous distance records (some of which still stand), followed, amazingly and of course, by absolutely nothing…like she disappeared. If THAT isn’t a red flag then FloJo was also a victim of disingenuous tabloid discriminatory slander.

  16. avatar
    Hannibal Lecter

    Did she ever offer any explanation for the whiskey in the pee ? Also – why did the female tester not accompany her to the toilet and watch ? The methadone clinic toilets all have mirrors to help indirect observation. Why not athletes ?

  17. avatar

    @John P, you sir are a very misguided individual and are blind to common sense. Michelle committed a crime which was worse than a positive drug sample, she tainted the sample. Guilty.

    Michelle was tested several times at competition but that is not when performance enhancement drugs are taken, they are taken during the training season.

    Please drop your high notions as you have no real idea of what you’re talking about.

    • avatar


  18. avatar
    Jack dempsey

    Anyone who thinks Michelle Smith wasn’t using performance enhancing/ banned drugs , probably still believe in Santa claus and the Easter bunny.

  19. avatar
    Pat Kenny

    Anyone who excuses Smith does so through ignorance or blind bigotry. I had a heated argument with a friend about her and after I’d battered him with the facts his one remaining pathetic defence was “she couldn’t be a cheat, she speaks fluent Irish”

    • avatar

      Ah so sweet. Like the people who believe everything trump comes out with.

  20. avatar

    This is a vendetta! Do you keep publishing about other athletes who have actually been found guilty of doping? Pathetic!

  21. avatar

    I wonder if the person who said it was about race has heard of Ben Johnson.

  22. avatar

    The fact remains that the drugs being used by athletes are far more advanced than the tests being performed. It is almost impossible to keep up with tests that identify the current substances. At the end of the day people have to look at themselves in the mirror for their actions. The awards they have won because of unfair advantages should give them nightmares at night. It is just the fact of being an athlete in these days. We do these sports because we love them and strive to improve ourselves. When it becomes only about awards and records the joy is lost.

  23. avatar

    Sad all round

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