Inspiration flows in the wake of defeat • Cathy Best, Lifestyle Columnist
Forty-five-year-old mother, veteran of five Olympics and winner of 12 Olympic medals falls 32 one-hundredths (0.32) of a second short of qualifying in the 50-meter Freestyle for her spot on the U.S. Olympic Swim Team for the 2012 London games.
I watched as Dara Torres swam the 50 meters in the Olympic Trials; saw her face as her time and 28-year career flashed on the scoreboard. A face that, briefly, showed disappointment and sadness; the spot literally slipped through her hands and glided off her reconstructed knee. In the wake of girls half her age – girls that could be her daughters – she had, after all, made it to the trials and made it to within a fraction of a second of representing the United States for the sixth time in the Summer Games. As she exited the pool, she scooped up her 5-year-old daughter, who held her mother tight, and replaced her swim cap with her mom hat. Tender-hearted, I cried.
The consummate athlete since she hit the water internationally at age 14, Dara Torres has always represented United States swimming at its best. Never in the spotlight for behavior un-becoming to an Olympian, always in the spotlight for achievement in her sport, Dara is a real role model in an era of false pretenses. The U.S. will miss her in London but her legacy will continue to inspire thousands of women and young girls, to reach beyond age barriers and reach above scandal in their individual pursuits. Dara Torres is a swimming champion, but more importantly a champion in life. For all the athletes out there, with aspirations for true greatness, follow in her wake.
Best of the Best
The Morgan County Aquatic Center is open Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is closed on Sunday. Daily entrance for county residents is $2 and $3 for non-county residents.
Dara Torres, Age Is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life, “I’ve wanted to win at everything, every day, since I was a kid. And time doesn't change a person, it just helps you get a handle on who you are. Even at age 41, I still hate losing– I'm just more gracious about it. I'm also aware that setbacks have an upside; they fuel new dreams.”
Let the Games Begin:
Games of the XXX Olympiad: July 27-Aug. 12
Olympic website and Apps:
www.london2012.com for the London 2012 Olympics schedule, results, medals, official website and mobile apps for the London 2012 Summer Olympics. Live results, competition schedule, news, photos, videos, medal count, athlete bios.
Olympic TV Coverage:
Keep an eye out for Kara Lynn Joyce, a former Georgia Bulldog Swim Team member and 2007 UGA graduate. Kara will be swimming in the women’s 50-meter Freestyle event, the same event Dara Torres would have swam in.
Cathy Best discovers new things daily. Contact her to share local resources, books, blogs, Web sites and apps you’ve discovered:
Printed in the July 19, 2012