Yesterday, I let the other ladies at Blisstree know that Dara Torres would be swimming to make the Olympic team that night. The exact responses were, “She’s great,” “She’s so rad,” and “SHE’S AMAZING.” We’re a website of Dara Torres enthusiasts.
Last night, the 45-year-old athlete swam in the finals of the 50-meter freestyle. She had the 3rd fastest time going into the finals, which only takes the top two athletes. If Torres made it, she would’ve broken her own records from the previous Games, where she became the oldest swimmer to make the Olympic team, and the only swimmer to make it to five Olympics.
Unfortunately, the London Games weren’t meant for Dara. She finished fourth in the finals, missing the Olympics by 0.09 seconds. She won’t get a chance to extend her own impressive record and compete against athletes who weren’t even born when Torres went to her first Olympics in 1984. In fact, after the race, the Olympian announced that she is retiring from the sport all-together.
“I can leave this knowing I gave it everything I possibly could,” Torres told NBC later Monday. “That’s the best I could do.”
She walked out of the Omaha Olympic trials arm and arm with her six-year-old daughter, Tessa. It was an image that could’ve made you a little weepy. If you were inclined to weep at such things. Which I am. Okay, I seriously had tears.
As I mentioned yesterday, the Olympics have the ability to inspire not just athletes, but normal human beings who are moved by the competition and strength of our country’s representatives. No one exemplifies that motivational ability more than Dara Torres. She is honest about aging, ” Time doesn’t change a person, it just helps you get a handle on who you are.” She’s straight-forward about the challenges you face in life, “I’m also aware that setbacks have an upside; they fuel new dreams.” She is a reminder that whatever seems to be holding us back can often be used as a weapon, “Muscle tightening is not the only thing that happens to our bodies over time. We gain knowledge, focus, and understanding, and those things can help us win.”
Dara Torres isn’t going to be at this year’s Olympics, and I’m sad for that. I wish I could’ve seen her race again. I wish she could’ve continued breaking records. But those 0.09 seconds didn’t remove this amazing lady from our hearts. She will continue to be a role model and an inspiration to athletes everywhere, no matter what their ages are.