A six foot tall 41 year old is not someone you'd expect to be winning medals in the Olympics. Dara Torres, however, has three silvers, and has gained from me a lot of respect.
At the start of the semifinal for the 50 yard freestyle, Torres became concerned about helping Sweden's Therese Alshammar fix her torn swimsuit. At the time it was happening on television, I didn't realize why Torres was waving her arms around at the officials. Alshammar later returned with a new swimsuit on, was patted by her opponent, Torres, given a few words of encouragement, and then the race began. In short, Dara Torres went out of her way in a show of good sportsmanship to ensure her opponent was given the opportunity to don a new swimsuit, and part of that process was to make sure the officials knew what was going on, and that the race start was delayed momentarily so that Alshammar could replace the damaged swimsuit.
The host country, China, has been under fire for its treatment of Tibet prior (and after) the start of the games (drawing protests worldwide), and of their treatment of Christians during the games (confiscating Bibles, arresting three Christians). There have been a number of other scandals, as well, including drug scandals (the latest of which actually turned out to be false), and stories of poor sportsmanship like the one about a Swedish Wrestler throwing a tantrum and losing his medal as a result.
Dara Torres' good sportsmanship toward her Swedish opponent, while scandals by other olympians are abound, makes her an American Hero. She showed true class, and watching her swim for America makes me proud. That, my friends, is what the Olympics is all about. Thank you, Dara Torres, for showing us true American Class and honor.
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