Sitting and watching the Olympic swimming events last night, I was kind of glad to see the final events for Dara Torres and Michael Phelps. They are great stories, but it was a little overkill for my tastes.
Watching Dara Torres, the 41 year-old mother, stand next to her comrades and swimming in her last event, I couldn't help but think is this miracle story legit?
Recently, whenever we have seen top level 40 year-olds, specifically Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, competing at a high level, it has come to light that they have used illegal supplements. So how has this 41 year-old been able to win silver medals in this year's Olympic Games beating athletes 15 years her junior and in the prime of their lives?
Torres maintains her secret was allowing more rest in-between workouts. Implementing a new style of weight training called resistance stretching. While most exercise programs contract muscles, this program contracts and stretches the muscle during each repetition making her lighter in the water and more efficient with her strokes. She is also ingesting an amino supplement that is supposed to help with muscle recovery and strength.
Far be it for me to accuse Dara Torres of cheating. I don’t know and I’m certainly not doing that. Unfortunately, I’m a skeptic and I am aware of all the cheating that goes on in sports. If she did alter her workouts and take the supplements, does that make up for the fact she is 41 years old and competing against women in their prime? All I’m saying is that I wouldn’t be shocked if she did have some chemical help given all the circumstances.
She HAS passed every drug test, though, and will accept any drug test to prove she is all natural. Which she knows this. With all that is going on in the sports’ world, she knows there will be doubters out there. Even Matt Lauer from the Today show asked her straight up if she was taking steroids and he is notorious for asking softball questions. She of course denied it.
But so did Marion Jones? So did Barry Bonds? Marion Jones was the darling of the Olympics when she competed. She could do no wrong. But, she did.
These athletes passed drug tests and repeatedly denied taking steroids (Bonds still does – knowingly, right?). Now Marion Jones is serving a prison sentence. I'm not inferring anything with Dara Torres, I'm just saying there have been a lot of athletes throughout the years, but a 41 year-old competing with the young bucks and is successful has rarely happened.
The big thing going for Torres is that there aren't any other swimmers testing positive whatsoever for anything. No doping, blood tests, or urine tests. That certainly helps. If no one else has been caught cheating, than chances are good that no one really is cheating.
I, like everyone else, certainly hopes that Torres's victory and story is a feel good story. She can truly be an inspiration to women of all ages. With everyone shouting out steroids every time someone does an athletic feat incredibly, it would be nice to have a story of an individual that received accolades through athletic ability and hard work.