London 2012 - Where are they now? Michelle Smith
In the summer of 1996, The Beatles may have noticed a few extra royalty cheques coming in from Ireland.
The reason? Because whenever you turned on the radio or television, you seemed to hear their hit 'Michelle'.
The song was played ad nauseum in honour of the country's newest hero Michelle Smith, who won three swimming gold medals and bronze at the Atlanta Olympics.
Her three golds (in the 400m individual medley, the 400m freestyle and the 200m individual medley) were won in the space of five days, and for a country that had won only two since the Second World War.
The people of Ireland where staying up past their bedtimes in ever greater numbers as medal followed medal, eager to hear RTE commentator Jim Sherwin excitably call yet another triumph.
It was incredible. Back in 1996, Ireland still didn't have an Olympic-sized swimming pool - but now they had the best swimmer in the world.
Swimming as a sport was basically ignored by the general Irish public in between Olympics and even then it was watched more in general terms. People would have remembered Mark Spitz, but not the Michelle Smith who competed without any real distinction in Seoul and Barcelona.
Now, in Atlanta, she became the most famous woman in the country - a 26-year-old who had seemingly dropped from the skies to help Ireland win gold medals.
How did she do it? How indeed!
There was an elephant in the room when it came to her successes and during one press conference one of Smith's rivals, American Janet Evans, decided to bring it up.
"There are a lot of accusations going on around the poolside, and I'm not making any of them," she said with a tone that was certainly heavy in implication for someone who was 'not making accusations'.
In her book released later that year Smith would write about Evans: "Janet Evans took the gold medal for bitchiness—in a field of one."
The world's media began to direct its gaze more closely on Smith: they compared photographs or her from 1992 to 1996 and noticed a huge growth in her arms; they wondered how somebody could improve so much at an age when swimmers traditionally decline.
In 1992, Smith covered the 400m in 4:58.94 but when she won in Atlanta her winning time was 4:39.18. In 1993 she was not ranked inside the world's top 25 in any stroke, and now she was clutching three gold medals.
Smith put her success down to a meeting with a Dutch discus and shot putter named Erik De Bruin whom she met at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
De Bruin became her boyfriend, then coach and then husband - and Smith said her unprecedented improvement in between Olympics was down to the training regime and diet that De Bruin had implemented for her.
However, De Bruin just added to the fog of suspicion. In 1993 he was suspended after failing a drugs test, but he insisted that he was framed by the biochemist who conducted the test.
In Atlanta, there were signs that Smith was losing the PR battle but Ireland was not about to just let go of their golden summer and leapt to the defence of Smith.
RTE's swimming expert, Gary O'Toole, an ex-swimmer who had become a physician, had more than a slight suspicion that something wasn't quite right but was told by the national broadcaster to keep such thoughts to himself when analysing Smith's victories.
As he explained to the Chicago Tribune in 2000: "The directive came down that nobody was to discuss drugs and Michelle Smith on national television.
"In a way for me at the time, it was great. I knew everything about drugs. Everything. I worked with them all through medical school.
"It suited me not to talk about it because if you've got 1.5 million TV sets tuned in to watch someone achieve something, you don't want to be the one to burst the bubble."
However, soon even the Irish press were starting to ask questions. Paul Kimmage, an ex-cyclist who wrote a controversial book exposing drug use in his former sport, was one of the first to express his doubts.
Writing for the biggest selling newspaper in the country – the Sunday Independent – Kimmage told the nation to "take their heads out of the sand" when it came to the Smith issue. Another high-profile Irish journalist, Tom Humphries, briefly quit his position at the Irish Times because they refused to publish two columns of his that questioned Smith's achievements.
Smith had only just returned to Ireland but the mud being flung at her was beginning to stick. She rushed a book out in time for Christmas but it sold poorly and the sponsorship and endorsement deals promised during the Games in Atlanta never really materialised.
The shine on Ireland's golden girl was quickly beginning to diminish. All this despite Smith being tested for illegal substances four times during the Atlanta Games, with each test coming back negative.
WHERE IS SHE NOW?
Michelle Smith de Bruin, as she now calls herself, is now a successful barrister based in Kells, County Kilkenny in the Midlands of Ireland.
She graduated with a degree in law from the University College of Dublin in 2003 and then two years later she was called to the Bar at the King's Inn. In 2008 she published a book with the rather catchy title: "Transnational Litigation - Jurisdiction and Procedure."
How she got interested in law though came as a direct result of what happened to her after the Olympics.
Initially, Smith continued to compete and won two golds and two silvers at the 1997 European Championships in Seville.
Doping tests continued to be passed, but questions continued to be asked. She remained a global topic of conversation.
In April 1997, America's premier sports magazine, Sports Illustrated, asked on their cover: 'Irish gold medallist Michelle Smith: Did she or didn't she?' with a picture of a large bicep being flexed with a syringe in between (see picture right). Inside they dedicated more than 4,500 words to the Smith controversy.
The swimming authorities (FINA) had their concerns too, especially as they were struggling to find Smith's whereabouts for out-of-competition, random drug tests.
However, in 1998, FINA decided to call to De Bruin's house in Ireland looking for a sample. They initially couldn't get past the gates and then when they finally got inside Smith went missing for "four to six minutes" before finally handing over her urine sample.
The FINA officials said the sample smelt of whiskey and when it finally reached Barcelona for testing, it was found to have "unequivocal signs of adulteration". As a result Smith was banned for four years.
She protested her innocence and appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It was through defending her case that her interest in law was piqued.
Peter Lennon, her solicitor during her appeal, told the Irish Independent in 2006 when asked if he was surprised Smith had taken up the law game: "Absolutely not. Because in the course of the case she was incredibly interested in the minutiae and what I was doing and why I was doing it. And her breadth of knowledge in relation to what she was taking in and her retention of it was quite incredible."
Her case though would ultimately be unsuccessful. Smith and Lennon asked that the case be heard in public and FINA submitted evidence that said that, on top of the tampering of the urine, Smith had also taken the bodybuilding drug Androstenedione, a metabolic precursor of testosterone, the night before the test.
Although this was not a banned drug at the time, it was also revealed that three samples, taken between November 1997 and March 1998, had shown traces of Androstenedione, which was a banned drug. FINA thought they had a better case when it came to the tampered test though, which is why they proceeded down that route.
Smith's team argued that her sample had been tampered with but forensic evidence suggested otherwise. CAS withheld the ban and Smith retired from the sport in 1999.
In 2007 she reappeared on Irish television on a reality TV show called Celebrities Go Wild but she refused to appear on Ireland's main chat show, the Late Late Show, to promote it after they warned that some reference would have to be made to her controversial past.
To this day, she refuses to talk about her swimming career and instead concentrates on her law practice.
Smith was never stripped of her four Olympic medals, but when conversations about Ireland's greatest ever sports people spark up, her name is rarely mentioned.