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Jimmy Magee: 'She was tested more often than Shergar'

The RTÉ commentator has launched another defence of Michelle Smith.

Jimmy Magee.
Jimmy Magee.
Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

RTÉ SPORTS COMMENTATOR Jimmy Magee has defended his inclusion of Michelle Smith in his new book and insists she was ‘tested more often than Shergar’.

Smith won three gold medals and one bronze from her performances in swimming at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

However she was banned from swimming for four years in 1998 because a drug sample was said to have been tampered with.

Magee defended the disgraced swimmer when speaking to Miriam O’Callaghan this morning on RTÉ Radio 1 about his new book ‘Different Class: Favourite Sporting Memories’.

“Why not? I had Ireland’s best Olympians and to do that, Michelle Smith is one of the few Irish people who’s win a gold medal in the Olympic games.

“She was tested more often than Shergar and never ever anything negative. She was found to have tampered, or somebody had tampered with a sample taken that was taken of her, outside competition long after she had finished.

“In my opinion she should have finished after Atlanta and that’d be the end of the whole thing. One of my daughters was looking at the results and she like a lot of people said ‘you’ve put Michelle in there’.

“I said ‘there’s a list of the results of the last five Olympic swimming champions in that discipline’. She has an inferior time to all the others, the four previous winners. I said ‘if she’s taken something, she should get her money back, she’s slower than all them’.”

Magee conceded that his views are not in line with public opinion on the subject and described himself as ‘a one-man defense counsel’.

‘I know myself. I’m a kind of a one-man defense counsel. I’ll tell you this she did the barrister exam and she was third in all of Ireland.

“To those people that are complaining about her, do you think she was taking something untoward?”

Magee revealed he has not spoken to Smith for some time.

“I haven’t seen her or talked to her in a year and a half. But that doesn’t mean I forget about her.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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