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dana torres

Five-time Olympic swimmerDara Torres made quite a splash at the Beijing Olympics this summer when, at 41, she became the oldest Olympic swimmer in history and the only one to win a medal in five Olympics.

Torres won her first medal in 1984 — the year Debbie Phelps was pregnant with Torres’ future teammate, Michael. Since then, she’s inspired me by proving that age is just a number and that, when tended to and nurtured, the body can rise to the challenge – even if you’ve just had a baby yourself a mere two years earlier.

But it wasn’t just her physicality that impressed us (although the woman is ripped!). It was her sportsmanship, her humility, her sense of humor. We want to be her friend!Women around the world cheered as Torres won three silver medals, missing the coveted gold in the 50-meter freestyle by one-hundredth of a second and joking, “I shouldn’t have filed my nails.”

Known for her competitive spirit, Torres still managed to keep the mood around the pool light by regaling her fellow swimmers with stories of her labor. And when 16-year-old Therese Alshammar from Sweden had a wardrobe malfunction before the 50-meter freestyle semifinal, mama Torres marched over to the judges and made everyone wait until it was fixed. She then turned her attention to the pool, dove in and blew away the competition. I can’t wait to see what she’ll be doing at 51.