To trace Michelle Smith’s journey to the 1996 Olympics you have to go back to the previous Games in Barcelona where she first met Erik de Bruin in the main dining hall in the athletes' village. It was a meeting that would change the course of their personal and sporting lives.
Many believed Smith's swimming career had reached the end of the road in Barcelona, but it would prove to be the turning point of her remarkable journey. Under the guidance of Erik, her coach and future husband, the Dublin swimmer transformed into an international class athlete in the years after the 1992 Olympics.
However, during that period, De Bruin - a World championship silver medallist at the discus - tested positive for a performance enhancing drug. Michelle and Erik would protest his innocence, but the Dutchman's record would cast a shadow over Michelle's transformation before, during and after Atlanta.
For the two years after those Games, Erik's story would form part of the circumstantial evidence used to questions Michelle's achievements. Smith still had many people in her corner defending her reputation.
Then in April 1998, a bomb would go off in Irish sport.
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