There are 20 U.S. women competing at the Beijing Games who are also mothers, some still competing at the highest level in their sports well into their thirties. Darra Torres, 41, the oldest swimmer to make the Olympic team, and the only swimmer to win a medal in five Olympics, is a prime example.
Coming Out of Retirement & Maternity
After having four Olympic Games and nine medals under her belt, Torres decided to retire and, instead of competing in the 2004 Athens Games, she worked as a swimming commentator for NBC. She learned these skills by earning her degree in broadcasting from the University of Florida, where she swam for all four years before graduating in 1989.
After her retirement, Torres began swimming once again in 2005 while she was pregnant but this time she was swiming solely as a way to stay in shape during her pregnancy. But soon, her love for the sport and the fire that drove her to qualify, compete, and win medals in four Olympics , prompted to return to competitive swimming after a seven year absence.
According to NBC, after giving birth to her daughter Tessa in April 2006, Torres' main concern was, "When can I start working out again?" This launched her Olympic campaign in August 2006 with a whole team of trainers, assistants, and coaches to help her get fit once again.
Only one year after coming out of retirement and maternity clothes, and at 40 years old, Torres broke her own American record in the 50m freestyle at the U.S. Nationals, which she had set seven years before at the Sydney Olympics. Darra Torres, holding her then fifteen month old baby girl, is living proof that true Olympians are timeless; there is no set age for greatness to end and becoming a mother can only further your dreams, not end them.