Irish swimming star and triple Olympic Gold Medallist Michelle Smith is being investigated by FINA for a possible tampering violation on a urine sample given during a random out of competition drug test conducted in January of this year.
Michelle who did not compete at the World Championships in Perth, had received warnings previously from FINA about her availablity for random out of competition drug testing.
The drug test according to reports was carrried out by the Swedish firm International Drug Tests and Management which is contracted by FINA.
If Michelle is found to have tampered with her test sample, she could incur a 4 year ban according to FINA rules.
According to reports her sample did not involve a specific banned substance, however a test is deemed failed, if there is evidence of suspected tampering.Reason to cheer, Michelle Smith celebrates third gold medal at the Olympics
FINA secretary Gunnar Werner in press reports described the matter as "disappointing for our sport". Michelle Smith now has the option of having her B sample tested.
Michelle would also have to forfeit any medals she has won in the previous 6 months of competition prior to the test. This would mean she would have to return two gold and one silver medal she won at the European Championships in Seville, Spain last August. It would not however affect the medals she won in Atlanta.Michelle's physique also caught the eye of journalists at the Olympics
Michelle has been dogged by allegations of drug use since her dramatic performances improvements which culminated at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in which she won 3 gold medals in the 400 I.M., 400 free, 200 I.M. and a bronze medal in the 200 fly.
|Michelle Smith Long Course progression to 1997|
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Michelle's husband Erik De Bruin a former discus thrower has himself previously been given a 4 year suspension in 1993 by the International Amateur Athletics Federation for a positive drug test at a track meet in Germany.
We will have more information as it becomes available.