Motivation Articles

Dara Torres Took the Plunge at 41

Don't Let Age Keep You From Your Dreams

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So What Keeps Torres Going?
She told Women's Health that “dreams can’t stop because you’ve hit a certain age or because you’ve had a child.”

After winning five medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Torres hung up her swimsuit for the second time and took seven years off. By 2006, she was getting the competitive itch again. By her own admission, racing is embedded in her. She simply loves to compete. Torres could have retired for good after her first, second, or third Olympics but she didn’t. She wanted to pursue the dream.

Like other athletes, she has also experienced her share of challenges outside the pool. She has known the heartbreak of two divorces (but is now happily married) and also struggled with bulimia throughout her first two Olympics. Now fully recovered, she admits that she still has to watch out for it. She told Women's Health that depriving herself can lead to problems. Today when she has a craving she goes ahead and eats. But with her level of training, she can afford to splurge a little more often!

How About You?
What limitations have you placed on yourself or allowed others to place on you? Have you used the excuse of age, size, work or parenthood to rob you of achieving something you have always dreamed of? If so, it's never too late. Now you may or may not win Olympic gold but you can get healthy, become fit or lose weight. Where would Torres be if she listened to everyone who told her that she can't? She's living proof that you do not have to give up on your dreams—whatever they may be.

In the August 4, 2008 issue of TIME magazine you’ll find Torres on the cover. In the story, she told the writer that she wanted to convey a single idea: She wanted the middle-aged women who look up to her to feel proud of themselves and believe that they could do whatever they set out to do!

Remember, it is never too late to be what you might have been. Believe in yourself and dream big!

Editor's Note: Check out this YouTube video about Dara Torres' comeback!

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About The Author

Jason Anderson Jason Anderson
Jason loves to see people realize the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. He is a certified personal trainer and enjoys running races--from 5Ks to 50K ultramarathons. See all of Jason's articles.

Member Comments

  • Great article. - 5/24/2013 10:20:56 AM
  • 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. - 12/29/2012 1:04:54 PM
  • 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. - 5/16/2012 6:33:19 PM
  • Amazing story, She is truly an inspiration. - 8/14/2011 2:07:27 PM
  • AVERYSILLYGIRL
    Great motivation! I love Dara! - 5/10/2011 9:53:26 AM
  • I love that TIME cover. It's on my vision slideshow. http://tinyurl.co
    m/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.

    It's totally worth it. - 5/10/2011 8:34:44 AM
  • Dara Torres is one of my inspirations! Thanks for the great article. - 5/10/2011 7:19:08 AM
  • 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! - 5/10/2011 4:05:00 AM
  • What a wonderful reminder to keep working towards one' dreams! - 3/21/2011 8:36:11 PM
  • 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. - 3/4/2011 11:08:15 AM
  • Who doesn't find Dara Torres inspirational? I really love that she acknowledges that at 40+ her workouts have changed, but she's still able to stay in shape and compete.

    One should respect one's age-but not use it as a limiting crutch.

    I'm 50, not 25, but I still like to get out there and stay active. My 87 year old father was recently told he needs to get out and be more physically and mentally active.

    It's important for everyone! - 3/4/2011 10:30:01 AM
  • 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! - 9/14/2010 5:21:49 AM
  • Absolutely inspirational! What a great way to start the week!!!! - 7/11/2010 11:54:22 PM
  • I loved this article - especially asking us what limits we impose on ourselves. Those seem to be the toughest to overcome. - 3/9/2010 11:35:58 PM
  • MOCHAMICHELLE1
    Great article. Great motivation for the over 40 crowd! - 1/9/2010 12:51:02 PM

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