"You Don't Put An Age Limit On Your Dreams"
If you don't know, Dara, the 41 year old Mom of an adorable two year old girl, was deprived of the Gold Medal in the 50 meter freestyle by one hundreth of a second. The gold medalist, Britta Steffen, was LESS than half her age.
Dara is the first woman swimmer in history to compete over the age of 40 and she's the oldest swimmer to win a silver medal.
That? Is inspiring. She? Is a female role model we can encourage our daughters to look up to.
In an earlier race, as the swimmers were getting ready to mount the block, she stopped, because one of her competitors had a torn suit. She tried to help the girl mend the suit, to no avail. So she asked officials to delay the race, and then she spoke to each competitor to let them know that they would wait.
Now, the rules state that events do not have to be delayed for competitors who are unable to start on time, regardless of whether the issue is large or small. Basically, it's up to the ruling officials to decide.
Dara let it be known that the race would wait. They would all...wait.
She knew, from experience, what a fight it can be to make it to the Olympics. Athletes bascially give up their entire lives to train. They sacrifice everything. To be deprived of the opportunity to compete for a gold medal for such a trivial reason, would be a travesty. She knew that as well. And she wasn't about to let it happen.
Look, I'm not an athlete. Basically, I'm a sit down activities kinda gal. The only calories I burn on a regular basis are those expended turning a page or booting up my computer. I consider running up the stairs a work-out.
But these women: Dara Torres, Nastia Liukin, Kerri Walsh, Shalane Flanagan, Christina Lukas...along with so many others, have impressed me beyond measure.
Not because they are physically fit. Not because they are Olympic champions.
But because they are strong and determined and have dedicated their lives to something positive. And in so doing, they have put themselves in a position to inspire, motivate, and teach.
Listen, Moms...forget Hannah Montana, Brittney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Lauren Conrad and Heidi Montag. Forget Ashley and Mary something or other. They women have NOTHING to offer our girls.
But our female Olympic athletes do.
They aren't out clubbing with the rest of the spoiled hoi poloi. They aren't being photographed with their no-no holes hanging out. They aren't making homemade porn and then OOPS, finding it on the internet the next day. They aren't getting boob jobs and nose jobs and anal bleaching. They aren't getting married and divorced in the same month.
These are real women. They are achieving their dreams. And they are demonstrating that women can be strong, and intelligent and empowered. They are showing our girls that they can be valued for something other than a beautiful face, an impressive rack, and a famous boyfriend.
Congratulations Dara Torres. You may not have taken the gold, but you are a winner in my book. Thank you for being a role model we can all be proud of.
(And thanks to Suebob and flutter for pointing out that I misspelled her name. Geez. Louise. Ya think I'd get the name of my latest girl crush correct.)