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Michelle Smith de Bruin responds to being "written out" of Olympic history

Michelle Smith de Bruin has made a rare public statement, offering congratulations to gold medali...
Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

14.03 29 Jul 2021


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Michelle Smith de Bruin respon...

Michelle Smith de Bruin responds to being "written out" of Olympic history

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

14.03 29 Jul 2021


Share this article


Michelle Smith de Bruin has made a rare public statement, offering congratulations to gold medalists Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan.

She had been contacted by RTÉ's Liveline programme to respond to a listener's claim she was being written out of Irish Olympic history.

Smith de Bruin won three gold medals at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, and a bronze.

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In 1998, Smith de Bruin was banned for four years by swimming's governing body FINA for tampering with a urine sample. The following year, she had an appeal against the ban dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Smith de Bruin never failed a drugs test during her career, and was not stripped of her four Olympic medals.

During RTÉ's coverage from Tokyo overnight, presenters Jacqui Hurley and David Gillick were discussing previous Irish Olympic gold medalists but failed to mention Smith de Bruin's wins in Atlanta.

When requested for comment by Liveline, she gave the following response.

Michelle Smith de Bruin statement:

I just want to congratulate our brilliant rowers, Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan, on their wonderful achievement in becoming Ireland's newest Olympic Champions. What a stunning performance.

Twenty-five years ago this week, I became the first Irish woman to win an Olympic Gold medal.

By the end of that week in Atlanta, I had become a Triple Olympic Champion. It was the culmination of seventeen years training and dedication to my sport.

Standing on the podium, watching the tricolour being raised and listening to Amhran na bhFiann was and still is, the proudest moment of my life.

Twenty-five years have passed and people still stop to tell me where they were when I won my medals. I will always be incredibly proud of what I achieved in Atlanta and remain touched by the level of support still shown to me by the people of Ireland.

Michelle Smith de Bruin.

Triple Olympic Champion, 1996.

CEO Of Rowing Ireland Reflects On Olympic Gold For Paul O’Donovan And Fintan McCarthy


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Atlanta 96 Fintan McCarthy Michelle De Bruin Michelle Smith Michelle Smith De Bruin Olympic Games Olympics Paul O'Donovan Rowing Swimming

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