Host City: Atlanta, United States
Venue(s): Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Date Started: July 24, 1996
Date Finished: July 24, 1996
On July 20 [Michelle Smith] won Irelandâs first gold medal in Olympic swimming in the 400 metres medley. Two days later she added the 400 metres freestyle title to her collection. By July 24 and her third Olympic final the whole country of Ireland were obsessing over Michelle Smithâs Olympic exploits. There were even stories of pubs in rural Ireland who were illegally extending their opening hours so customers could watch her Olympic races and celebrate her victories.
The third and last of Smithâs victories was the hardest of the three. She led at 100 metres but slumped back to fourth over his breaststroke leg before counterattacking over the last fifty to edge home in front of Canadian [Marianne Limpert]. When Smith was convicted of tampering with a urine sample in 1998 and subsequently banned from the sport, the Canadian authorities asked the IOC to consider stripping Smith of her Olympic medals but nothing came of this.