Former Olympic Swimmer Helen Smart Dies Suddenly at 43

Mike Egerton/EMPICS via Getty Images

Former Olympic swimmer Helen Smart, who represented Britain during the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia, has died at the age of 43.

No cause of death has been given. Friends and loved ones have described her death as “sudden.”

Smart’s post-Olympic career path was education. She was working as a school principal at Worsley Mesnes Community Primary School in Wigan, England, at the time of her death.

Smart, who was 19 during the 2000 Olympics, competed under her maiden name, Don-Duncan. She represented Britain in the 50-meter and 200-meter backstroke.

Helen Don-Duncan celebrates her win in the Women's 200 Metres Backstroke, where she broke the British record

Helen Don-Duncan celebrates her win in the Women’s 200 Metres Backstroke, where she broke the British record (Steve Mitchell/EMPICS via Getty Images)

Helen’s husband, Craig Smart, wrote a touching tribute to his wife on her school’s Facebook page.

“She loved the school, staff, children and parents so much,” Craig Smart said. “She was so proud to reach her goal of being Head Teacher. She used to say to me all the time she could never see herself at another school. She was Worsley Mesnes through and through! I remember only last week she said her goal was to get the school to outstanding and that she had the right staff to achieve this!”

“I hope you all keep learning like champions. Please learn from this and live your best life, no regrets, take lots of photos, make memories and keep smiling just like Helen always did!”

Helen’s father, John Don-Duncan, wrote on Facebook, “Helen was our pride and joy… we are so proud of her… she lit up a room as soon as she arrived.. Linda and I can’t comprehend how she could just simply go to sleep and not wake up?! xx”

Fellow British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies wrote, “This is very sad news. Always a pleasure to interview & always a huge smile on her face. A Fierce competitor.”

No further details on Smart’s cause of death have been released.


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