Matt Cooper: Smith’s message to Olympic heroes says more about her than them

Michelle Smith de Bruin’s congratulations to Ireland’s medal-winning rowers in Tokyo were more about her achievement than theirs

Michelle Smith de Bruin’s gold medals from the Atlanta 1996 Olympics were not taken from her, despite her being banned from her sport in 1998. Picture: Getty

It must be tough for Michelle Smith de Bruin. Every time an Irish person wins an Olympic medal, a roll call of previous winners is made. But most broadcast commentators and print journalists leave out the name of the former champion swimmer.

To some of them, it is as if she never won three gold medals and one bronze in the pool in Atlanta in 1996, and that this can be erased from the memory, ...