"Age is just a number,” says Dara Torres, who at 41 will become the oldest American to ever swim at the Olympics. At last week’s Olympic Trials, this middle-aged mother shattered her own world records in the 50-meter freestyle along with our preconceptions about age and women in competitive sports.
It’s not that Dara hasn’t felt her age over the years. After three Olympic games and four medals, the champion swimmer retired, feeling she was too old to continue the high level of competition. She was 25. Now on her second amazing comeback, this swimmer is faster, fitter and foxier than ever.
Dara is not exactly your average 40-something woman. A gifted athlete, she trains her ass off – she swims, hits the gym, is fanatical about nutrition, and stretches, stretches, stretches. She has a team of coaches, trainers and masseuses. But when Matt Lauer asked her about the key to her success, she mentioned none of those things.
“I believe.” Dara said. “I think that the biggest thing is mentally to believe that you can do it. The water doesn’t know what age you are, so why not?”
We may not be headed for the Olympics, but just because we are over 40 we don’t have to let our age limit us. Like Dara, we can believe in ourselves – whatever we choose to do – and we can all be winners.