Olympic Gold Medalist Dara Torres Shared Her Triumphant Story at the Chamber’s Gala Dinner

Dara Torres, 5-time Olympian, winner of 12 medals, and author, shared her inspirational story at the Chamber’s 131st Annual Gala Dinner on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014. Torres competed in five Summer Olympic Games, becoming the first U.S. swimmer to ever do so, as well as the oldest swimmer to ever compete at age 41. Over the course of her distinguished career, Torres won twelve Olympic medals, including four gold, four silver, and four bronze.

Before her keynote address, Torres was introduced by Idaho's own Olympic gold medalist, Kristin Armstrong. Torres spoke on her desire to return to the pool while pregnant with her daughter at age 39. Believing her Olympic days were behind her, she joined a local swim club for fun and exercise but soon found herself competing with the other club swimmers. Her competitive nature drove her try out for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 at age 41 and just 15 months after giving birth. She became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympics and earned three silver medals, narrowly missing gold in the 50-meter freestyle race by 1/100th of a second. She came back to win the 50-meter freestyle at the U.S. Nationals in 2009.

After Beijing, Torres made another attempt at making her sixth U.S. Olympic team, at age 45, and came down to a single, furious lap. She came up short, finishing fourth in the finals of the 50-meter women's freestyle, behind a trio of women nearly 20 years her junior.

Torres now enjoys spending time with her daughter, Tessa Grace, and noted she see the same competitive nature in her.

Among Torres’ many accolades, she was named one of the “Top Female Athletes of the Decade” by Sports Illustrated magazine, won the 2009 ESPY award for “Best Comeback”, and was the first female athlete to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Torres is the author of two books, including Age is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Life and Gold Medal Fitness: A Revolutionary 5-Week Program.