Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 26, 1996
Date Finished: July 26, 1996
Chinese swimmers [Qu Yun] and [Liu Limin] had dominated the event at the 1994 World Championships but the Chinese Olympic team was a shadow of the team they had been two years earlier and instead the mantle of pre-Games favourites fell on the shoulders of the Australian pairing of [Susie O'Neill] and [Petria Thomas]. As the events of Atlanta unfolded another name was added to the list of contenders as [Michelle Smith] of Ireland had already visited the top of the Olympic podium on three occasions.
OâNeill had burst onto the world scene as a 16-year-old in 1990 but this was to be her first global title. She led for the entirety of the race and eventually won by a large margin of 2.06 seconds. Behind her Petria Thomas took a large slice off her personal best to finish second ahead of Smith who finally lost an Olympic race,
OâNeill successfully defended her Olympic title in front of her home crowd in Sydney in 2000 and retired afterwards having won a total of eight Olympic medals