Michelle Smith’s gold medal triumph in the 400m medley at the Atlanta Olympics was a ground-breaking moment and one of the greatest in Irish sport. The first Irish swimmer to reach an Olympic final, she was the first Irish woman to medal at an Olympic Games and was cheered by every sports fan in the country.
here was a message from President Mary Robinson: “On behalf of all Irish people who are celebrating with you tonight, and on my own behalf, I send you warmest congratulations on your marvellous victory.
“Your historic achievement in winning a gold medal on the first day of the centennial Olympics and establishing a new national record has confirmed your position as a superb role model for all young sports people — and in particular for Irish women. Your personal determination and tenacity, with your total commitment to swimming, has been justly rewarded. We are all