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Monday, February 11, 2013

Michelle and Tonya

Mentioning the Olympic champion Michelle Smith this past Wednesday made me curious as to what she was up to now, so I looked her up on Wikipedia. Turns out she's now a barrister in Ireland. (Her interest in the law was piqued during the hearings into her ban from swimming after having tampered with her urine sample.)

I was also curious to see what she looked like now, and saw this picture from her law school graduation:

I was struck by her resemblance to figure skater Tonya Harding, another disgraced Olympian from the 1990's:

Tonya, as you may recall, gained infamy when her boyfriend (presumably at her request) hired a thug to hit rival skater Nancy Kerrigan's kneecap with a tire iron. (Kerrigan, despite her injury, went on to win a silver medal behind Oksana Baiul at the '94 Games.)

Michelle was a more successful Olympian than Tonya, winning three golds and a bronze, whereas Tonya won no medals. And Michelle is more intelligent, as she has managed to stay out of trouble since, whereas Tonya's entire life story has been almost a parody of dysfunctionality.

But their resemblance is more than superficial. Both are the type who would do anything to win. Michelle would resort to performance enhancing drugs, then unashamedly tell the media that she was the most tested athlete in all of Ireland and that she had passed every drug test she had ever taken (shades of Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong). And Tonya would get her boyfriend to arrange a kneecapping, then profess disgust at the crime.

Too bad for Tonya she didn't compete in a sport where steroids could help.

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