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In search of Michelle Smith, Part Two - Ireland's golden wonder... and the questions that followed

Paul Kimmage


Atlanta was supposed to be about Sonia. Few outside swimming saw what was coming

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Michelle Smith poses with her three gold medals after the Atlanta Olympic Games of 1996. Photo: Billy Stickland

Michelle Smith poses with her three gold medals after the Atlanta Olympic Games of 1996. Photo: Billy Stickland

Michelle Smith poses with her three gold medals after the Atlanta Olympic Games of 1996. Photo: Billy Stickland

Michelle Smith’s gold medal triumph in the 400m medley at the Atlanta Olympics was a ground-breaking moment and one of the greatest in Irish sport. The first Irish swimmer to reach an Olympic final, she was the first Irish woman to medal at an Olympic Games and was cheered by every sports fan in the country.

There was a message from President Mary Robinson: “On behalf of all Irish people who are celebrating with you tonight, and on my own behalf, I send you warmest congratulations on your marvellous victory.


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