Veteran sports commentator Jimmy Magee says it was a shame former Irish Olympic swimmer Michelle Smith didn’t have any role in the Irish leg of the Olympic Torch relay.
In an interview with Newstalk’s breakfast show this morning, the 77-year-old said that Smith, who was handed a four year ban from swimming in 1998 after tampering with a drug sample, deserves more publicity for being Ireland’s most successful Olympian of all-time.
Magee also claimed that Lance Armstrong was clean during each of his seven Tours de France wins.
“She hasn’t got the publicity she deserves,” he said when asked about Smith. “She’s tainted by something somebody suggested. But I want to emphasise this, Michelle Smith has three gold medals and one bronze medal.
“They were never taken away and were never withdrawn. Do you know why? Because she never failed a fitness (doping) test. Never.”
The ‘Memory Man’ then went on to defend Smith by saying she couldn’t have taken an illegal substance because the previous winners of the 400IM were all faster.
“Take any of the events she won, take the 400IM at Atlanta and look back at the three or four winners of the same event from the Olympics before and they were all faster than she was, so if she was on performance enhancing somethings…
“She sat drug tests regularly. They had a test two years afterwards but why she wanted to continue to compete I don’t know.”
He also criticised ‘invasive’ journalists whose aim is to find dirty stories on people: “There’s a certain type of invasive journalism and if that’s the way they want to work, they can go out and find dirty stories about anyone.
“Michelle Smith is now a barrister. She did the bar examination and in all of Ireland she was number three. Do you think she took something for that?”