Three Cheers for Dara Torres!

What about 41-year-old swimmer Dara Torres beating women half her age and qualifying for her fifth Olympic Games? Dara is the mother of a two-year-old girl. She’s undergone several surgeries in the past year; a rotator cuff surgery in November and several surgeries on her knee.  The last one was only five weeks ago. Yet, there she was this past weekend, not only winning the qualifying 50 and 100 meter freestyle finals, but beating her own times in the 100 freestyle from her Olympic swims in 1984 and 2000. She holds the world record for the 100 backstroke, too. Talk about an inspiration.

(The photo included here is from USA Today, taken two years ago.  That’s Dara with her daughter, Tessa.)

“A Swimmer of a Certain Age” appeared in the New York Times Magazine on June 29th, before she won her qualifying races this past weekend.

Of course, there are cynics who believe that she has to be doping in order to win like that, at her age. Undoubtedly, those claims will surface throughout the media in the months to come.  A feature in the Austin-American Statesman appeared on Monday, addressing these claims and her responses.  The article is entitled, “41-year-old Olympic swimmer: Too good to be true?”  It mentions that Dana categorically denies doping, continually offering to be tested anywhere, at anytime, for anything, in order to prove her point.  An excerpt:

“As part of the new USADA program, Project Believe, she’s one of about a dozen athletes who gets blood and urine taken at any time.  Sometimes she’s asked to go to the nearest lab.  ‘It’s a pain,’ she said.  ‘But I asked for this and I want to prove that I’m clean, so to me it’s worth it.”

We’ll keep watching Dara in Beijing and wish her fabulous success!


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