Different Torres, same sex appeal


I have pretty lame taste in music, so my read-through of Rolling Stone earlier this week was pretty haphazard — until this picture jumped out and attacked me.

I know what you’re thinking: Thanks for the warning, StuntDouble — I have been permanently blinded by the effulgence of those abs. Well, I’m sorry, but I didn’t want to dilute the experience for you. See, it’s kind of like we were flipping through Rolling Stone together!

This is Dara Torres. Dara is 41, the mother of a two-year-old, a swimmer, and in 1984, she won an Olympic gold medal. Now, 22 years later, returned to attempt to qualify with the U.S. Olympic Swim Team in Bejing. Lest you think she is hoping for a casual throwback to her glory days, Torres set the American record in the 50-meter freestyle just a few weeks ago.

“Everyone says I should be used to this,” she told reporters Tuesday. “But I feel like I’m 16, getting ready for my first trials. I’m nervous. I’m excited.” (Funny, that’s the same reaction I had looking at her picture.)

Here’s the best part of this tale: After giving birth to her daughter, she had shoulder surgery, then knee surgery, and then she started training again for the Olympics. Knowing how improbable her recovery story was, she offered herself up to United States Anti-Doping Agency officials and volunteered for rigorous testing.

“I said, ‘Look, I want to be an open book. Because I want people to know that I’m doing this right. That I am 41 years old and I’m clean and I want a clean sport.'”

This weekend, she achieved her first goal and qualified for the Olympics. Not only did she qualify, she placed first in the 100m freestyle, beating out the other swimmers that are 20 years her junior.

Torres’s secret weapon, she says, is stretching. That’s also what the woman on my Yoga for Beginners DVD says, but I find it a more compelling argument coming from Torres because she’s not wearing a pink leotard. Also, the abs. Did I mention the abs?

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