Olympic Swimmer Dara Torres: Yes She Can!

dara-torres.jpgIf you love the woman warrior, the “never say die “athlete (and God only knows most of us do), then join me in a resounding round of e-plause for Dara Torres, 41, the Olympic swimmer who laughs in the face of age.

Certainly in athletics, time is not on your side. Few of us, from writers to business executives, hit our stride before the age of thirty. But that’s the twilight years for most pro athletes. And in no sport—not even tennis—is that any truer than competitive swimming. Thus the accomplishments of Torres are all the more remarkable.

She first competed in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles at age 17. With the exception of 1996 and 2004, she has competed in every Olympics since. That’s right, Torres, who, in 2000 in the Sydney Olympics, became the first American to swim in four Olympics, has now beaten her own record by qualifying for a spot on the 2008 US Team heading to Beijing.

While the swimming world is in buzzing about Michael Phelps, 23, who, with a shot at winning eight events, might outdo American Mark Spitz’s 1972 Munich performance of winning seven gold medals, it is Torres who may well be the audience darling come this August.

Phelps, like all but two other members of the US swim team, was not alive when Torres won a gold medal in Los Angeles, respectfully calls Torres, “Mom.” She easily confesses that she is battling nerves, and fully aware that she is swimming against the tides of nature, but is nonetheless determined at make history once again.

Torres plays for keeps and in doing so lives a message for all of us who are living on the far side of forty:

Don’t give up.

Whether you’re an Olympic swimmer or a weekend tennis player, the passing years need not tear down your determination to be the best you can be.

Very few of us can ever accomplish what Torres—a single mom of a two-year-old, in a committed relationship with her child’s father—has achieved. But with steady perseverance, we can stay at the top of our game for much longer than conventional wisdom may have thought possible. I don’t know about you, but come August I’ll be rooting for Torres to win gold, silver, or bronze. In my heart she’s already won all three.

Martin Brown
SingleMindedWomen.com Money Editor

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