All That Glitters Is Not Triple Gold After Prof’s Call Leads To ‘Whiskey In The Jar’

The cover of Gold - Michelle Smith with Cathal Dervan, author of the swimming biography penned before the swimmer's fall from grace

This week marks the 20th anniversary of a call from an anti-doping boss with a keen forensic mind to the agents who would carry out an out-of-competition test the result of which is still making its impact felt two decades on. Professor Malcolm Cameron was a leading member of the FINA medical unit at a time of systematic cheating in Chinese swimming. National teams were gathering this week in Perth, Western Australia, for the 1998 World Championships but Smith de Bruin was to be a no show. All eyes would soon be  on the multiple positives of Chinese swimmers, the 13 vials of hGh, airports seizures and more. On the other side of the planet in Ireland, IDTM agents Al and Kay Guy were asked to knock at the door of Michelle Smith, triple Olympic champion. Here is the story of what happened either side of that moment, including an official warning handed to Prof. Cameron from Cornel Marculescu, the director of FINA, after this author broke the story of an adverse finding in The Times newspaper.

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This week marks the 20th anniversary of a call from an anti-doping boss with a keen forensic mind to the agents who would carry out an out-of-competition test the result of which is still making its impact felt two decades on. Professor Malcolm Cameron was a leading member of the FINA medical unit at a time of systematic cheating in Chinese swimming. National teams were gathering this week in Perth, Western Australia, for the 1998 World Championships but Smith de Bruin was to be a no show. All eyes would soon be  on the multiple positives of Chinese swimmers, the 13 vials of hGh, airports seizures and more. On the other side of the planet in Ireland, IDTM agents Al and Kay Guy were asked to knock at the door of Michelle Smith, triple Olympic champion. Here is the story of what happened either side of that moment, including an official warning handed to Prof. Cameron from Cornel Marculescu, the director of FINA, after this author broke the story of an adverse finding in The Times newspaper.

Comments

Richard Ortiz

I remember years ago being in London visiting a friend, Jackie Willmott, and popping into a sports bookstore and seeing this book on display. Of course I purchased it – BEFORE the you-know-what hit the fan. I was intrigued with the book but taken aback by Michelle’s comments about Coach Schubert. I know Mark, and gave him the book to read with markers indicating where he was mentioned. Surprisingly, his attitude and statements made it clear he believed that Smith was a cheat from the get-go. He had seen it all from the DDR to the Chinese and Michelle’s rapid rise was nothing new from his experience.
After London, I went to see relatives in Ireland. I showed them the book. Once again, they believed that Michelle had won her gold medals in the most unseemly manner. I asked what led them to this conclusion. Their reply was an eye-opener. They felt that her sudden gold storm happened too fast for a woman of her age. They read the book that night from cover to cover and gave it back the next day calling it fiction.
I still have the book on my Olympic shelf but just can’t bring myself to reading it. It bothers me too much. It really bothers me in ways I can’t begin to explain.

Craig Lord

Thanks for all your notes, Richard. Yes, swimming history is full of things to celebrate and stacked, too, with things that need light shining on them yet… Kind regards and all best for 2018, Craig

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