I actually don't feel inspired by Dara. I read her book and walked away saying, she and I have nothing in common! Her story is inspirational on the surface, but I don't share her competitiveness or drive.
Forgetting that she is an amazing fitness inspiration, she is also just an amazing person.
I'm a self-professed Olympics junkie. The first and foremost memory for me from everything that happened at the Beijing Games in 2008 was right before the Women's 50m Freestyle Semifinal when the swimmers came out to head to the blocks, the suit of another swimmer (Sweden's Therese Alshammar) ripped and Dara stopped to help her attempt to get it together. When it ripped again, Dara flagged down the officials to stop the race so that Therese could get changed into another suit, which she did.
Dara still managed to get focused and blistered the field in the semifinals enroute to a silver by 1/100th of a second setting an American record in the process (the 10th time she has set that record personally and still holds it today). 35 minutes later she was back in the pool winning a silver in the 4x100 medley with a Freestyle split that was more than a second faster than the individual American record in the 100 Freestyle at the time.
Still, with all of the records and medals, it's that one act of helping another competitor so that she wouldn't miss the chance at a possible medal (Therese won 3 medals in Sydney) that stands out to me to show what kind of person she truly is.
I seriously hope that if she does indeed make the team for 2012 in London that she is the flag-bearer during Opening Ceremonies. Team USA could certainly do a lot worse than to make that happen.
I love that TIME cover. It's on my vision slideshow. http://tinyurl.com/vision-collage (Like the collage, but electronic.)
At 43 I finished losing 170-180 lbs and discovered white water kayaking. I took up snowboarding this past winter. It takes more effort to stay in shape - I really work at the cardio and strength training during the week to support my weekend activities.
But as a result I'm keeping pace with my college-age friends, racing with them in pentathlons, running waterfalls, etc.
This was an inspirational article, and one I could identify with. I used to be a competitive swimmer and I still love swimming. I took up running last year and am working on my 5K time. I was doing lots of trick dives into the pool with my daughters last week. I was a bit worried about doing a handstand dive. My younger daughter, 14, said 'Mum, be careful. You're too old.' My older daughter egged me on. I did it. My older daughter is 20. My sons are 26 and 29. I am 55. Get fit. Stay fit, and age really can be just a number!
This article is just what I needed today. My husband insists on reminding me that I am not 25, that I won't be able to compete with 20 year olds. I don't neccessarily want to compete. I want to be fit and healthy. You can bet I will show him this article.
I'm admittingly, a late bloomer. At 54, I'm just coming into my own, considering going back to college to become a teacher, and getting in the best shape of my life. BELIEVE! You can be YOUR BEST at any age!
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