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Commentary: A sixth Olympics for Dara Torres would be incredible

Carl LewisJustin SmoakMichael PhelpsFelix HernandezAnne Donovan

We start by putting our Bud Light Spotlight on the best story from this year’s Olympic Trials – and it’s *not* the on-going duel between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte.

Instead, it’s 45-year-old swimmer Dara Torres. Tomorrow in Omaha, Torres will try to make her sixth Olympic team. And she’s got a decent chance of doing it.

To put it in perspective, take a look at these names: Mary Lou Retton. Carl Lewis. Bart Connor. Edwin Moses. Former Storm coach Anne Donovan. Legendary names that made their mark in Olympic history. They’re also former Olympic teammates of Dara Torres, who made her debut in the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

That’s right. When Torres was competing in her first Olympic Games, “Dynasty” and “Dallas” were the top two television shows.

And Felix Hernandez and Justin Smoak, not to mention close to half the Mariners active roster, weren’t even born.

 When an athlete defies the odds as much as Torres, there will always be speculation of foul play. It hasn’t helped that one of her previous doctors was Anthony Galea, who’s pled guilty of bringing Human Growth Hormone to the country to treat pro athletes. Then again, Torres has never failed a drug test, and welcomes any tests for that matter, with open arms.

Olympic legend Janet Evans tried to make a comeback at age 40 this week. Her attempt came woefully short. But Torres is five years older than Evans. And she’s got a bona fide chance to make the team.

In the last four years, she’s undergone shoulder surgery and reconstructive knee surgery. She’s also been diagnosed with asthma. Yes, getting old certainly stinks, yet here she is, competing against teenagers, because as she says, “the water doesn’t know how old you are.”

 Twelve years ago, Torres was already the oldest member of the U.S. Olympic Swim Team. So to do it again at 45 would be one of the greatest feats in Olympic history.

 In tomorrow’s finals, only the top two qualfiers will reach the London games. She’ll need the swim of her life to make the team. But I fully expect her to do it – because the story is simply incredible – and she’s never given us a reason to believe she can’t.


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