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Pride Michelle Smith de Bruin congratulates Ireland's rowers while defending her own Olympic success

"Standing on the podium watching the tricolour being raised and listening to Amhran na bhFiann was, and still is, the proudest moment of my life"

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Michelle Smith de Bruin and Erik de Bruin in Seville, 1997. Photo: Lorraine O'Sullivan

Michelle Smith de Bruin and Erik de Bruin in Seville, 1997. Photo: Lorraine O'Sullivan

Michelle Smith de Bruin and Erik de Bruin in Seville, 1997. Photo: Lorraine O'Sullivan

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Michelle Smith de Bruin has sent her congratulations to Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan, while defending her multiple wins in 1996. 

She issued a statement to RTÉ's Liveline programme to respond to a listener's claim that she was being written out of Irish Olympic history.

Smith de Bruin won three gold medals at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, and a bronze.

In 1998, Smith de Bruin was banned for four years by swimming's governing body FINA for tampering with a urine sample.

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Michelle de Bruin and Bill Clinton

Michelle de Bruin and Bill Clinton

Michelle de Bruin and Bill Clinton

The following year, she had an appeal against the ban dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Smith de Bruin never failed a drugs test during her career, and was not stripped of her four Olympic medals.

During RTÉ's coverage from Tokyo overnight, presenters Jacqui Hurley and David Gillick were discussing previous Irish Olympic gold medallists but failed to mention Smith de Bruin's wins in Atlanta.

In a tweet, Liveline said the statement was sent to them in response to an email from a listener.

The email reads:"I am following the RTE coverage of the Olympics and so far Michelle Smith has not been mentioned once. She is our greatest Olympian and I am ashamed at how she is being treated by RTE."

In an exclusive statement issued to Liveline this afternoon, the Olympic athlete said she just wanted to congratulate “our brilliant rowers Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan on their wonderful achievement in becoming Ireland’s newest Olympic champions.

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“What a stunning performance,” she wrote. “Twenty-five years ago this week, I became the first Irish woman to win an Olympic Gold Medal.

“By the end of that week in Atlanta, I had become a Triple Olympic Champion. It was the culmination of seventeen years’ training and dedication to my sport.

“Standing on the podium watching the tricolour being raised and listening to Amhran na bhFiann was, and still is, the proudest moment of my life .

“Twenty-five years have passed and people still stop to tell me where they were when I won my medals.

“I will always be incredibly proud of what I achieved in Atlanta and remain touched by the level of support still shown to me by the people of Ireland”

It is signed ‘Michelle Smith de Bruin. Triple Olympic Champion, 1996.'

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