INPHO/Morgan Treacy Jimmy Magee in London this summer.
London 2012

Jimmy Magee: Michelle Smith should have carried Olympic Torch

The RTÉ sports comentator also says Lance Armstrong was clean during his seven-year reign as Tour de France champion.

LEGENDARY RTÉ SPORTS commentator Jimmy Magee says Michelle Smith should have been included in the Olympic Torch relay on Irish soil this summer.

Smith won three gold medals and one bronze at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, making her Ireland’s most successful Olympian.

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

“I want to emphasise this: Michelle Smith has three gold medals and one bronze medal and they were never taken away, they were never withdrawn. Do you know why? Because she never failed a dope test. Never, ever,” Magee said on Newstalk this morning. “She should have been on the flame relay.

“There’s a certain type of invasive journalism and that’s the way they want to work. You can go out and find dirty stories about anybody, you know that.  Michelle Smyth is now a barrister and she studied for the bar. And in all Ireland she was no 3 in the bar examination. Do you think she took something for that?”

Magee — who is promoting his new book Memory Man — added that he thinks the case against seven-time Tour de France champion, Lance Armstrong is ‘nonsense’.  The former US Postal team leader has decided against continuing his fight against doping charges and looks set to be stripped of the titles. Magee however reckons the Texan was clean throughout his reign at the front of the peloton.

“There’s certain journalists have been chasing Lance Armstrong for years. He won seven Tours de France and let me just say: in 1993 he won the world road race championship. I was there on a rainy day and he was 19 and everyone said he’s the future. Well he had just won the world championship so he was the present as well but what’s he going to do in the future.

“But 18 months later he got cancer, testicular cancer, and it spread and they said he’d never really be well again. Forget about sport. But he got well. Clearly he had to take a lot of stuff to get well but he got well. And not only did he return to ride the Tour but he won it seven times. And when he won it the fifth time or the sixth time people started to say he must be on something, this can’t be right. I feel it’s nonsense.

“In years to come when people at pub quizzes are asked who was the first man to win seven Tours de France, they will still answer Lance Armstrong,” he told the station’s morning show.

What do you think?

Listen to the interview here>

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