August 3, 2008

Can Mama Spank the Kids?

*There is a Sah-weet incentive for reading this verrry long post when you get to the end...

I have this friend, I am going to name her The Contributor because she unknowingly (yet frequently) contributes blog fodder for some of my posts. Today is different. She actually had a request. And a lovely request it turned out to be...

Like I've mentioned one of two times before, the Shooter household loves the Olympics. We love the whole Shootin' Shabang. From Opening Ceremonies to Closing Ceremonies we are there. We are in the moment.

But, swimming...ahhh, swimming. I am going to have to say swimming must be our favorite child because we go back and go back to the swimming. We schedule potty breaks around the swimming.

And The Contributor, well she asked about our favorite child. Only the Olympian she specifically asked about is the Mama of the favorite child. She's our age (a teeny tiny tad older), she's been in every Olympics the Big Shooter and I can remember in one way or another and she is one Hot Mama!

Let me just put it to you all this way...
(For those of you who personally know Big Shooter this will make perfect sense cause he's a Gentleman y'all. And with him it is all about chivalry. Which makes me ponder the universe yet again to understand how in the world he ended up with me? But that is another post for another time.)
When I read The Contributor's request out loud with a knowing smile and glanced Big Shooter's way...he was smiling the smile only a wife should know about. I mean he was melting before my eyes y'all, sliding down the sofa into a puddle of love.

We were saving her. But, we had a request. A request! And besides we have tons of things to get covered these last few days to make sure you are prepared for Friday. Like tomorrow's post: A Comprehensive List of Olympic Watching Must Haves.

But back to Love Puddle and the object of his Olympic Passion. Her name is Dara Torres.
And we are so hoping she is going to do some serious spankin' on a whole bunch of international X-boxers during these Games!

I could not possibly give this fantastic example of a woman, mother, dedicated athlete and Olympian any justice if I tried to write about her career, so I did the next best thing. I copied my fave Olympic writer's article for you to read. It is long. It is worth it. It is inspirational. It will have you looking up the swimming schedule and setting your Ti-vo. Promise.

Dara Torres: Three Decades of Excellence
Written by Aimee Berg on June 27, 2008

Dara Torres is ageless.
She has competed in four Olympics spanning three decades. She has never failed to bring home a medal. She has also been a Sports Illustrated model, Tae Bo pitch-woman, NBC commentator, and an advocate for resolving eating disorders and competing drug-free. Every four years, she seems to reappear, but rarely has her Olympic metamorphosis been chronicled in one place. So here is a roundup of where Torres has been every four years since her Olympic debut in 1984, and how she's seizing the chance to become the oldest swimming medalist in history, at 41.

At the 1984 Los Angeles Games, Torres was a Beverly Hills teenager who had just completed her junior year at Westlake, a private girls' school in L.A. whose alumnae include Bridget Fonda and the astronaut Sally Ride, and where one of Torres' classmates was Richard Pryor's daughter. But Torres, 17, was making a name for herself in swimming. One month before the LA Games, she set an American record in the 50m freestyle but the event didn't exist for women at the Olympics yet. So instead, she helped the US win gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay in her Olympic debut.

In 1988, Torres had just finished her junior year of college at the University of Florida. Her major was public communications. Her minor was education. And her mission was to win medals in Seoul. Little did the public know, she had been battling bulimia since her freshman year of college. All told, she said, "I had it for five years." Despite its effect on her performance, she was one of just five female veterans returning from the 1984 US Olympic swim team and helped the US capture bronze in the 4x100m free relay. When she came home from South Korea, however, she hung up her goggles. She was done. She even joined Florida's volleyball team.

Torres stayed in Florida after graduating, began working for NBC Sports, then decided 11 months before the 1992 Olympic swimming trials that she wanted to try for a third Olympics at age 25. It motivated her to end her eating disorder, she said, and quit bingeing and purging "cold turkey". By then, she had also undergone two (of six) knee surgeries, but she made the Barcelona team and was named the US team's co-captain and its self-proclaimed "grandma." In Spain, she won another gold medal in the 4x100m free relay. Back in the States, she hung up her goggles once again. Finished.

In 1996, Torres was married and went to the Atlanta Olympics as a spectator and Reebok spokesperson. "I was just so used to getting passes and going everywhere. It was different being a regular person." She attended gymnastics and track and field events, but not swimming. "I don't know why," she says. "When you're retired, either you have some interest or none whatsoever."
By 2000, she was 33, divorced, had done the Tae Bo thing, and had four Olympic medals, all from relays. She decided she wanted more. But the sport had changed in the seven years since she left it. So she altered her stroke, modified her diet, shimmied into a newfangled bodysuit, again qualified for the Olympics, and earned five medals in Sydney (gold in two relays, and bronze in three individual sprints) - her biggest cache at a single Games. Then she quit. Again.

Notice the crowd in the background at the Trials. I don't think there is a more serious swim fan crowd out there than this group. And they are giving her a standing ovation for making this Olympic Team. Awe inspiring.

At the 2004 Athens Olympics, Torres worked as a swimming commentator for NBC's Hi-Definition broadcasts. "I was fine with t," she said of her second retirement. "It's not like I had the Olympic itch." Nor did she seem to have the "itch" in the immediate aftermath of those Games.
"It only hit me," Torres said, "after I had given birth and was swimming fast." She qualified for the 2006 Masters World Championships at Stanford, Calif., just three months after delivering her first child, Tessa.

"There were about 5,000 swimmers there and it felt like 5,000 people said to me, ‘I'd love to see you go for another Olympics.' Even going into that meet, I had no interest," she says. "I was still breast feeding between events."
She set a World Record 3 months post-partum and carrying the extra pounds of Baby Juice y'all. Amazing.

Now, Torres has qualified for her fifth Olympic team.

"Do you think the other kids like the Mama?" Inspiring. And showing by example.

On Friday night, at the US Olympic Swimming Trials, in Omaha, Neb, she secured an individual berth in the 100m freestyle event as well as the 4x100m free relay, and may qualify for another event this weekend in the 50m freestyle. In Beijing, she will be the first American swimmer to compete in five Olympics and the oldest female swimmer in the history of the Games.

Which isn't to say all has gone swimmingly in Torres' latest comeback.
"I have my bad days even though I'm swimming fast," she said.
Four months after Torres swam a lifetime best in the 50m freestyle (24.53) at age 40, she had surgery in November 2007 to remove a bone spur in her right shoulder. As recently as this spring, she said, "I was in my coach's office saying, I don't want to be here. I'm exhausted. Not everything's peachy."

Her fast times, coupled with her age, have also prompted suspicion of steroid use to which she replies: "I like talking about it. I met with the CEO of [the United States Anti-Doping Agency] and said, ‘Please, DNA-test, blood-test me, whatever. I want to be an open book.'"

"So to anyone out there that doubts me? To me, that's just a compliment. I now take that as a compliment that I'm doing that well."

What Torres will be doing in 2012 is anyone's guess. But her latest comeback has taught her one thing: "I thought that maybe competitiveness would dissipate as you get older. But it doesn't. I'm probably more competitive now than I've ever been in my life. Why? I don't know. It's just how I'm made up."

How absolutely fabulous is that? "It's just how I'm made up." What an outstanding example of life for all our Crumb Snatchers! Life is not passing this girlfriend by. She is living the moments. Grabbing the bull by the horns. Just doin' what she was made to do. Oh, how I hope to instill that lesson into Boy and Girl Child. Just do. Just live. Just do what you were Made to do.


Love Note to Big Shooter: You know how I love this bloggin' thing. You know how it pains me to spend your moo-lah on frivolous things. So you have to understand how much it pains me to inform you I need to purchase another cute little Godiva box for another winner. I have to Love. They need a reward for sludging through this one to the very end. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. Now all they have to do is leave their name in a comment and a way to reach them in case they win this second box of sublime fulfillment.

And in case they didn't enter the first one (which, btw, ends tonight when Sashi gets home from Love Fest and can choose a winner for me) they can go here and enter!


FerLee said...

Me, Me, Me...pick Me!!! Like I need the chocolate...but you know I'll eat it friend!!!

Is Crumb 2 going to make it to karate tomorrow?

That was a fantastic story my friend. I enjoy all these stories about the athletes...but you have to know when I saw the title I was thinking something COMPLETELY different!!!!!

Queen B said...

Loved the post! We are fans of Dara Torres, too. I can't wait to watch. I am really enjoying your Olympic posts.

And, um, hello? Chocolate? Sign me up.

Rudy said...

great story. wish we had digital cable and tivo!!

Anonymous said...

Sending you something "Olympic" related in the real mail, be looking for it... I finally decided it was time to get an idenity but I can't get it to allow me to publish. I even have my own blog set up "Life in the Junction" but I didn't post anything I was just trying to have a user name for this site...!?!?!!! Still Anonymous Soul Sister...

ShEiLa said...

Wow! 5 Olympics!! Wow!!!
She is amazing... kids and all... age included I am feeling quite inspired (actually jealous) I wish I was as inshape and together as she is. This story was well worth the time it took to read it. I sat here for a few moments just speechless. Wow!!! I think your blog is gonna be my all-time favorite Olympic blog. I know if I click on over to you... it is gonna be well worth the read.

faroutmom said...

Oo,oo,oo...I like chocolate...and you you know how to reach me.

I love that last pic of her and her daughter. Awesome.

Soul Sister...what up? Get your blog thing on so we can see what you are up to. Or down to? Whatever the case may be.

Unknown said...

I don't need the chocolate but wanted to comment that you are getting me excited for the Olympics! I, sadly, would have probably not noticed they were on for a couple of weeks...they're not on PBS, right? ;)

Thanks for educating!

Anonymous said...

Love this story! I think I need to start getting the birds ready for the olympics, huh?

Andrea@Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

I love how she is so honest! And her drive is amazing. Totally amazing. A true Olympian!!


Flea said...

Awww! What a cool American hero!

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