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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | Spotlight

The Irish Vote

A look at the day that was and at what lies ahead at the Summer Games

July 27, 1996|LISA DILLMAN

Thursday was a busy day for President Clinton. In a few short hours, he met the U.S. women's basketball team, the U.S. women's gymnastics team and the gold-medal 800-meter freestyle women's relay team at the swimming competition.

Clinton also chatted with embattled Irish swimmer Michelle Smith, who won three gold medals and a bronze at the Olympics.

"He was very nice," Smith said Friday, after the 200 butterfly preliminaries. "I gave him a pin and I said I'd give him a T-shirt, but I had forgotten it.

"I said, 'Well, I know your address.' "

Smith has been suspected of being helped by banned substances, and Clinton offered words of encouragement.

"He said he was full of admiration for me and the performances that I've put in throughout the week," she said. "He also said, 'I also admire the way you've handled all the crap that they've thrown at you. We've had to do that ourselves.' He said he knows what it's like."

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