Ageless Torres ponders one more Games

Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:04pm EDT
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By Steve Ginsburg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Olympic swimming heroine Dara Torres pauses, her delicate hazel eyes narrow, and she stares at a tiny puddle of water that has splashed out of the pool.

The inspirational 42-year-old Floridian badly wants to compete at the London Olympics in 2012 but ponders the potential deal-breakers -- her age, her health and her devotion to her three-year-old daughter Tessa.

"I have a little less than a year to figure it out what I want to do," she said. "I really want my knee to heal and want to get my legs back in shape.

"Then I'll talk to my coach and go from there. It's a big commitment but I've done it before and I know how to do it. It's just a matter if my body will hold up."

At nearly 6-feet tall (1.82m) with abs sculpted like a weightlifter, Dara Grace Torres has pin-up good looks and appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1994.

She is also a brilliant motivator, proving to an older population that throwing in the towel to the younger generation can be delayed through desire and hard work.

But most of all, Torres is a swimmer, a lithe 12-times Olympic medallist, including four golds, whose drive to touch the wall first is unrivalled.

She has won at least one medal in each of the five Games in which she has competed, including three silvers in Beijing last year at the age of 41.   Continued...

<p>Dana Torres heads into the water for her heat in the women's 100m freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, July 3, 2008. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi</p>