By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — When she came home bedecked in medals from the Atlanta Olympics, Michelle de Bruin, then called Michelle Smith, was hailed as a wonder woman, greeted with yellow roses by the Sports Minister Jim McDaid and given rapturous applause on an open-topped bus tour through Dublin.
A poster read “Michelle for President” and there were suggestions of a Hollywood movie with Nicole Kidman playing her and Tom Cruise her husband-coach Erik.
Now the country has been shocked by the drug-taking allegations surrounding their Olympic golden girl who waved three gold medals and a bronze during her rapturous lap of honor of the capital in 1996.
It was Ireland’s first Olympic swimming medals and little had been known about the red-headed 26-year-old at home before her power-housing pool performances in America.
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