Michelle Smith de Bruin, an Irish lawyer and former Olympic swimmer, was discovered swimming for the first time at the age of nine at the Tallaght swimming pool. She learned to swim from her father, who was also a swimmer, and competed in the Olympics.
In the age of 18, she made her debut on the world stage at the Olympics in Seoul, when she competed in the 200-meter backstroke event and came up just short of making the B-final (top 16).
At the age of 14, she had already won both the national junior and senior titles, and she continued to dominate the sport of women’s swimming in Ireland until her retirement in 1998.
Following her retirement from competitive swimming, Smith changed her name to Michelle de Bruin and began working as a builder’s merchant. The following is the information that we have regarding her present line of work:
Where Is Michelle Smith Today?
At the age of 52, Michelle Smith is now practicing civil law in Kells, Ireland, where she works as a Barrister. It was in Atlanta in 1996 that she made history by becoming the first Irish woman to win an Olympic gold medal for Ireland. However, charges of doping cast a shadow over her glittering victory.
Even though she no longer competes, Smith is still Ireland’s most successful Olympian of all time, regardless of the sport she competed in.
She also holds the Irish marks for the 200-meter freestyle, the 400-meter individual medley (long course), the 200-meter butterfly, and the 400-meter individual medley record (short period).
In addition, before to Katie Taylor’s victory in the boxing competition in 2012, Ireland had not brought home a gold medal since Smith won three of them in 1996.
Olympic Irish Swimmer’s Impressive Net Worth From Legal Career
The swimming career of the Irish woman, who is also a barrister, has resulted in a significant increase in her net worth. Multiple websites on the internet report that her money is between between one and five million dollars, while the exact quantity of her wealth is unclear.
After formally announcing her retirement from swimming in 1999, she went on to resume her schooling and finally received a law degree from University College Dublin. She did this after she had previously announced her retirement from swimming.
In July of 2005, she graduated with the degree of Barrister from King’s Inns Law School in Dublin, Ireland.
In addition, Smith is an expert in private international law, the enforcement and acceptance of foreign judgements, law pertaining to the EU, and the law that will be applicable to disputes following Brexit.
In 2007, Smith made an appearance on the episode of the reality show Celebrities Go Wild that aired on RTÉ. In that episode, eight celebrities were dropped off in the middle of rural Connemara and left to fend for themselves.
Her Husband Erik de Bruin Is A Retired Dutch Discus Thrower
Her spouse, Erik de Bruin, is a former shot putter and discus thrower for the Netherlands. He is 59 years old.
He held the record for the Dutch national shot put competition from 1986 until 2005, and his 68.12 meter discus throw record, which he achieved on April 1, 1991, is still the record as of today.
He had a lot of success in the discus throw, as evidenced by the fact that he brought home silver medals from the 1990 European Championships, the 1991 World Championships, and the 1989 Summer Universiade.
Smith began working out with the Dutch discus thrower de Bruin in 1993. Smith and de Bruin had met in Barcelona, where they were competing in the same event.
It was stated that the couple tied the knot in 1996. It has been 25 years since the couple tied the knot, and now they are raising their two children in Kells, which is located in County Kilkenny.
Other news includes an introduction to Jodie Williams’s parents, Christine and Richard Williams, as well as information about the Williams family.
Both Husband And Wife’s Ban Amid Illegal Drug Use
The International Swimming Federation (FINA), the world’s governing body for the sport, ordered a four-year suspension against Smith de Bruin in 1998, which put an end to her career as a swimmer. It was determined that she was responsible for tampering with a urine sample, and the results showed that alcohol was present.
The then-28-year-old woman’s appeal of the ban was denied by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which resulted in a suspension for a period of four years, according to her Wikipedia page.
The first Irish woman to win a gold medal in any sport was clean on all of her drug tests. In spite of this, the tampering scandal that occurred in 1998 has resulted in more doubts than it has answered regarding the veracity of her accomplishments.
In a similar vein, her coach and husband Erik De Bruin had already earned a four-year suspension for misusing drugs while competing as a discus thrower. His infraction occurred while he was in the middle of an athletic competition.
Did Michelle Smith Keep Her Medals?
Due to the fact that Smith did not have a single positive test result for any prohibited substance, her Olympic medals were not taken away.
At the Summer Olympics held in Atlanta in 1996, she competed in the 400-meter individual medley, the 400-meter freestyle, and the 200-meter individual medley events. She won three gold medals, one in each event. In addition to that, she was the bronze medalist in the 200-meter butterfly race.
The Fraud Of Michelle Smith: How An Irish Girl Duped the Swimming World
Her appearance on the world stage was meaningless and unimportant. Her presence had no effect on the composition of the podiums. She did not have any impact on the outcomes of any championship finals. At the very least, this is how the trajectory of Michelle Smith’s career developed over the majority of the years that she competed for Ireland on the international stage.
However, Smith had a breakout performance at the Centennial Olympic Games held in Atlanta in 1996 and emerged as one of the most successful competitors there. Some people saw her as a late bloomer who was rewarded for her patience and perseverance by having a spectacular climb in her career. However, others had a more accurate understanding. This abrupt increase could only have been caused by something completely different — and suspicious.
Smith competed for Ireland in seven individual events at the Olympics between the years 1988 (in Seoul) and 1992 (in Barcelona), but he was eliminated in the preliminary rounds of every one of them. Smith’s performances in 1992, which included a best finish of 26th in the 400-meter individual medley, once again rendered Smith, who was then 22 years old, as inconsequential on the international stage. In 1988, Smith’s worst finish came in the 200-meter backstroke, where she finished 17th. In 1992, Smith’s best finish was in the 400-meter individual medley, where she finished 26th.
Smith was an athlete who may have given her very best effort during her training sessions and dedicated herself completely to achieving success in her aquatic activities. However, the world of athletics is filled with athletes whose levels of talent span the entire spectrum, and Smith can be placed anywhere in the extremely good sector of this spectrum. She was talented enough to gain coveted spots in the Olympics, but she was not naturally endowed with the skill to appear on the podium of a worldwide competition.
By the time the World Championships were held in Rome in 1994, it was no longer accurate to say that Smith was a negligible factor during the 1992 Olympics. On the other hand, the same was not true of the Irishwoman. At that period, Smith was training with Erik de Bruin, a two-time Olympic discus thrower from the Netherlands. In 1993, the International Amateur Athletic Association (IAAF) banned de Bruin for four years due to a failed doping test, and Smith was working out with him.
Smith wed De Bruin in 1996, and she brought a novel perspective to the conversation about doping and the benefits that might be gained from the behavior. Despite the fact that Johnson was deprived of his gold medal in the 100-meter dash at the 1988 Seoul Olympics for a positive drug test, the Dutchman named disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson as an admiration. His statements suggested that an oblivious attitude toward the prospective increase in pharmacological assistance should be adopted.
When challenged about the ethics of doping, de Bruin once responded, “Who says it’s unethical?” Who decides what constitutes ethical behavior? Is there morality in politics? Is there morality in business? Dishonesty is inherent to the nature of sport. Some people have gifts that come to them naturally, while others have to put in a lot of effort. Without additional assistance, there are certain folks who won’t be able to make it.
Because Smith had not yet won any medals on the international arena, the Irishwoman did not question her about the improvements she made between the 1992 Olympics and the 1994 World Championships. This was because Smith had not yet won any medals on the worldwide stage.
During the two years that separated Barcelona and Rome, Smith made improvements that were exceedingly exceptional for a novice age-group swimmer, let alone a woman in her mid-20s. These improvements were especially remarkable given Smith’s previous performance. Smith finished 26th out of 32 swimmers in the 400-meter individual medley in Barcelona, but went on to win the consolation final in Rome. In Rome, the event was held. In a sport where improvements are normally measured in fractions of a second, her time in the event improved by over 11 seconds, which is an eternity. Her time in the event plummeted. Between the years 1992 and 1994, Smith improved his time in the 200-meter individual medley by four seconds. As a result of this leap, Smith was able to place 12th in the preliminary competition at the World Championships.
Her performance in the 200 butterfly at the World Championships in 1994 was perhaps the most surprising of all of her accomplishments at that competition because it was an event that she had not even competed in at the Olympic Games two years earlier. Smith, who was competing in the 200-meter butterfly for the first time outside of the United States, finished fifth in the final. The attempt was made after she recovered from a bout of glandular fever that prevented her from getting adequate training in the weeks leading up to Rome. There was also a shift in Smith’s physique, an adjustment that was not something that could be ignored.
Gary O’Toole, an Irish athlete who has competed in two Olympics, described the experience as “a total transformation.” “The Michelle that I recalled was round and feminine, and although she carried some excess weight, she did not carry a great deal of it. When I glanced at her, I uttered the following words: “Oh my God, what have you been taking?”
The significant improvements that Smith made in 1994 were followed by even greater success at the 1995 European Championships, which was the tournament that served as her true breakthrough event. In addition, the competition served as a dress rehearsal for the events that were to take place at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in the year 1996. Smith finished the European Championships in Vienna, Austria, with three medals: a gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly event, a gold medal in the 200-meter individual medley event, and a silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley event. Her times dropped significantly, exactly as they had done in Rome previously. Smith’s performance in the 200-meter butterfly was improved by one second, while he had improved his time in the 200-meter individual medley by four seconds. Smith was able to improve her time in the 400-meter individual medley by five seconds compared to what she accomplished in Rome.
In 1996, the year that marked the 100th anniversary of the Modern Olympics, there was no question in anyone’s mind that Smith would be a contender for medals in a number of different competitions. There was little room for question in the minds of athletes competing against each other that something was amiss. Competitors have a remarkable ability to discern anomalies in their opponents, and Smith’s performances were far above and beyond the norm. Her time drops were accompanied by a significant change in her physique, a change that mirrored what was seen in East German swimmers during their country’s systematic doping program in the 1970s and 1980s. Her time drops were also accompanied by a change in her physique that mirrored what was seen in East German swimmers.
In a short amount of time in Atlanta, Smith rose to prominence as one of the Games’ most widely discussed characters and events. Smith absolutely dominated the competition in the 400-meter individual medley on the first night of competition. Smith’s winning time of 4:39.18 was almost three seconds faster than the time that American Allison Wagner posted to win the silver medal, and it was just under 20 seconds faster than the time that Smith recorded in the previous Olympiad. Two days later, on the fourth of July, Smith won her second gold medal by swimming the 400-meter freestyle in a time of 4 minutes and 7.25 seconds. Smith was somewhat inexperienced in the competition, and his best time at the beginning of the year was just 4:26.
In addition to the 19-second improvement over the course of the previous year, there was extra controversy about the 400-meter freestyle. Even though the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) missed the entry deadline for the 400-meter freestyle competition, the officials let Smith to compete in the event nevertheless. Smith was not initially entered in the competition. In the end, the matter was brought before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), where it was contended that the Irish Olympic Committee was provided with erroneous admission information. The American distance running star Janet Evans finished eighth in the preliminary heats, which meant that she would not proceed to the final. Smith was also competing. However, USA Swimming’s objections to Smith’s participation were to no avail. In addition to Smith’s late registration for the 400-meter freestyle event, charges of doping on Smith’s part were also brought up.
Pat Hickey, president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, was quoted as saying, in reference to the 400-meter individual medley competition, “The Americans feel furious this swimmer from a minor nation like Ireland snatched a gold medal off of them.” They are exerting every effort to ensure that Michelle Smith is expelled from the organization. They were unsuccessful in their appeal, so they are pursuing a different strategy with their recommendations concerning the use of drugs. There is no justification for that at all.”
There were some black and white numbers, both of which gave reasonable grounds for cocking an eyebrow. During the time that Smith was receiving congratulations from the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, for her accomplishments, a number of athletes freely discussed what they were seeing. Evans was a part of that squad and was competing in the races at the Atlanta Olympic Games for the third time.
Are you asking me if she’s under the influence of drugs? Evans stated. “Whenever someone experiences a significant improvement, there is always the possibility of that inquiry. In the past few weeks, I’ve heard a question similar to that one voiced in reference to that swimmer. If you’re asking if the claims have been made public, then the answer is “yes,” as far as I can tell.
Smith was able to continue her success despite the allegations that were being leveled against her. She won her third gold medal in the 200-meter individual medley and added a bronze medal in her final race, which was the 200-meter butterfly. It should not come as a surprise that Smith rose to the status of national hero, with people in her native land praising her achievements while dismissing the questionable circumstances that surrounded her ascent.
Smith had a breakout performance at the 1997 European Championships held in Seville, Spain, the following year. In addition to her victory in the event that she was most focused on, the 400-meter individual medley, she also took second place in the 200-meter butterfly and the 400-meter freestyle. A gold medal was also awarded to her for the freestyle 200-meter race, which was the first time she had competed in that event at an international level.
Outside of the swimming pool, Smith was notoriously tough to keep an eye on, despite all of the achievements she had accomplished. Smith’s refusal to assist with doping procedures resulted in reprimands from FINA, the international governing body of swimming, on multiple occasions, when drug testers had been unable to identify the whereabouts of Smith in order to perform doping-control tests. In spite of this, she was allowed to continue competing while evading the doping system.
right up until the morning of the 10th of January in 1998.
Smith was not able to participate in the World Championships that were being held in Perth, Australia since he had been injured a few months previously in a vehicle accident and was still recovering from his injuries. However, officials in charge of anti-doping made the decision to request an out-of-competition sample from Smith, as is customary practice. When the anti-doping officials arrived at Smith’s home, they were forced to pull their vehicle to a halt at a gate that had been padlocked. After some time, Smith made her way down the driveway, unlocked the gate, and invited the people who were testing her home inside.
Testers attempted to get a urine sample from the athlete throughout the morning while he was accompanied by his husband. Smith’s husband was present during these attempts. In the beginning, Smith’s husband said that the couple was going to travel that morning, therefore Smith was unable to provide a sample because she did not have time. The vacation was abruptly canceled after the testers revealed that they could go with the pair and would wait until the athlete was ready to participate.
Smith gave a urine sample on two consecutive occasions, but each time he originally filled the testing vial with a smaller volume of pee than what was required to be collected. When she returned for a second time, the officials who oversee anti-doping discovered that the sample emitted a scent that was reminiscent of whiskey. Officials requested that Smith fill out the necessary documentation and then filed away the sample. It was discovered in April of 1998 that Smith faced the possibility of suspension not for a failed drug test but for tampering with a sample. This information came to light. The amount of whiskey that was discovered in Smith’s sample was sufficient to be lethal to a human being.
Due to the fact that Smith had tampered with a doping sample in August of 1998, he was given a four-year suspension from FINA. Smith filed an appeal against the suspension, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport maintained the penalty in 1999. Despite this, the judgement permitted Smith to keep the Olympic medals she had already earned. Smith has, up to this very day, continued to insist that she is innocent, as she did in the statement she released after the confirmation of her ban.
Smith said, “I am deeply saddened by the decision of the court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and in particular their decision to prefer circumstantial evidence concerning the manipulation charge as distinct from direct evidence given by me at the hearing of my appeal.” “I am deeply saddened by the decision of the court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and in particular their decision to prefer circumstantial evidence concerning the manipulation charge.” The court has determined that the reason I tried to tamper with the sample in question was because I was trying to cover up the fact that I had taken illegal narcotics during the course of my career. As a result, I am standing here today accused of having done so.
“I wish to restate what I have always stated to you, which is that I have never used any chemicals that are prohibited throughout the course of my career, nor has FINA ever accused me of using any substances that are prohibited during the course of my career,” the athlete said. I want to reassure those who have supported me and believe in me that my victories in Atlanta and Seville are not meaningless and have been accomplished without the use of any illegal performance enhancing substance. I am proud of what I have accomplished, and I thank them for their belief and support.
“Since I won my first gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics, both my husband and I have been the targets of vicious public attacks and smear campaigns by various sectors of the media and the general public, and the fact that this has happened makes me quite upset. I am still of the opinion that I have been singled out by FINA ever since my success at the Olympics, and I am of the opinion that I am still correct in holding that viewpoint, having regard to the disclosures made for the first time by the Irish Times of the background to the Out of Competition Doping Control missions that were carried out on me in 1997 and 1998. I believe that I am correct in holding that viewpoint, even today.
“I will always treasure the periods when I was victorious, and I sincerely hope that people who continue to have faith in me will also treasure the memories they have of those times.”
A life away from the spotlight that she was accustomed to as an athlete and a career as a barrister in Ireland were in Smith’s foreseeable future when she was banned from competing. Her time has also been defined by the fact that she has been held up as a poster girl for cheating, as well as by the fact that she was willing to take shortcuts and benefit from the use of performance-enhancing drugs in order to make the transition from an athlete with very good skill to one with elite status.