Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Age Ain't Nothing But A Number

I had planned on writing about Dara Torres but found the article below from Jon Benson in my inbox this morning. Jon says it better than I could so I'll leave it to him but I have posted a few notes of my own at the end.

This Woman is My Hero!
by Jon Benson

I want you to remember this quote for the rest of your life:

"Don't put an age limit on your DREAMS."
-- Dara Torres, Olympic Champion

Dara is truly one of my heroes.

Not too long ago Dara Torres did the unthinkable: She dared to enter the 2008 Olympics and swim a "kids race": The 100 Meter Free.

It's an all-out sprint. One length of the pool. Winner takes the gold-medal.

Dara lost the gold by 1/100th of a second. That's almost too short to measure.

She won silver.

She beat the American 16-year-old who was swimming just a few lanes over.

She beat her personal record set when she herself was a teenager.

She smashed the American world record.

She bested her last Olympics, and the one before that, with a time that, except for a slight start mistake would have won her a gold-medal.

Dara is 41 years old.

Let me put that into perspective: Dara lost by 1/100th of a second to a girl young enough to be her daughter.

In fact ALL the racers were young enough to be her daughter!

It staggers the mind, doesn't it?

It shouldn't.

Dara is not "old". She's not even "middle-age." These are all terms we create to limit our ability to achieve.

Dara is simply an athlete. A mom. A true woman of power. Someone who lives in the present.

Dara is a champion, and there is not an age criteria required to be labeled "champ". Even Olympic champ.

The New York Times article had it right: "Getting Older, Swimming Faster."

That's right: She beat her personal best at the age of 41, set almost 20 years prior, and did it in the toughest arena the world has ever created.

If you are fed up with putting an age limit on your dreams, I encourage you to read or re-read my book, "Fit Over 40" --

Fit Over 40<--- no age limits!

I devote an entire section of the book to champions between 40 and 80 who simply refuse to buy into the rumor that says, "I'm too old to..."

So...what do you think you're "too old" to do?

Be an Olympic champion perhaps?

Oh, just for your information: Dara was not the oldest Olympian this year. John Dane III was 58. He crewed a Star boat for the Olympic Sailing Team.

Libby Callahan, 56, became the oldest U.S. female Olympian of all time. She competed with the shooting team.

So, I'll ask you again: What do you think you're too old to do?

Think again.


I'll add just a few notes to Jon's thoughts:

* Not only are many of the swimmers young enough to be Dara Torres' children but Michael Phelps and 3/4 of her female Olympic teammates had not even been born in 1984 when Torres won her first gold medal.

* Although it wasn't quite fast enough to catch the Australians, who had built up a sizable lead, Torres' 52.27 split on the 4x100 medley relay ranks as the fastest 100 freestyle split in relay history.

* That amazing performance by the 41 year old came only about 1 minute after the emotional medal ceremony for the 50-meter freestyle (where Torres' had missed the gold by 1/100th of a second).


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