It is the school – where the former Olympic swimmer worked as headmaster – that shares the tragic message of the 42-year-old’s passing.
– I know that this news will be a shock and very sad for our society. I want to assure you that everyone at the school is working with local authorities to ensure that pupils, staff and parents will receive the support they need in the weeks to come,’ a statement said. from school president Alison Halliwell, as reported by Manchester Evening News.
The cause of death is currently unknown.
This is very sad news. Always a pleasure to interview and always a huge smile on his face. A fierce competitor. Tributes paid to ‘inspirational’ Commonwealth medalist Helen Smart https://t.co/63Q3omEWkB
— Sharron Davies MBE (@sharrond62) August 15, 2023
Smart competed for Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and was, according to the newspaper, a highly respected athlete. Under the maiden name of Helen Don-Duncan, the late 43-year-old won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in 1998, as well as a silver medal in the 200 meters backstroke at the Short Course WC in Hong Kong in 1999. .
According to the Commonwealth Games’ own website, the 43-year-old has won four national titles in the 200m backstroke.
Former swimmer Sharon Davies – who won Olympic silver in 1980 and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire – herself shared her condolences on Twitter.
“This is very sad news. Always a pleasure to interview her and always a big smile on her face. Tribute to inspiring Commonwealth Games medalist Helen Smart,” she wrote to her more than 200,000 followers.
The grieving man
Craig Smart, Helen’s husband, shared a touching tribute to his late wife in a post.
“She loved the school, the students, the staff and the parents so much. She was so proud to have achieved her goal of becoming a principal. I remember last week she said her goal was to continue the good work the school had been doing and that she had the right staff to do it. Please live your best life. Don’t walk around regretting anything. Take photos, create memories and keep smiling like Helen always did.”
On UK Swimming Official Pages several of Smart’s former teammates have tried to put words to how they want to remember their former friend.
British swimming has been deeply saddened to learn of the death of Olympian Helen Smart (née Helen Don-Duncan)
Tributes were paid by Helen’s friends and teammates from across the swimming community 💙https://t.co/ZrbLg5UkHv
— British Swimming (@britishswimming) August 15, 2023
“I tried to find words but I’m so shocked by the news that I don’t know what to say. Helen was such a dynamic character, always happy and a great teammate and friend. She was such a dedicated athlete and had a fantastic work ethic that she used both in sport but also in everyday life,” writes former world champion Katy Sexton.
“I am so grateful for all the memories we have had together traveling the world. I had the utmost respect for you. You were an inspiration to many and you will always hold a special place in my heart.” , writes Sarah Ruckwood.
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“Hardcore coffee specialist. Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Devoted internetaholic.”