After watching several stories on 41 year-old Dara Torres including the clip below from PTI yesterday, and reading several good articles including Jason Whitlock’s column on the matter, I still don’t know where I stand on whether or not the swimmer is using an illegal advantage on her way to making the Olympic team for the fifth time.
As Whitlock points out, there has been as much scrutiny of Torres’s accomplishments as there has been praise. It is the reality now. No athlete, no matter the color, the reputation, or the testing will be cleared fully from now on. It is something that will mark every athlete who accomplishes the seemingly impossible from now on. To the casual observer, it would appear a definite that Torres was on PEDs. She is 41, has had a baby, underwent surgery, and spends less time in the pool than ever.
Her training regiment has been well documented. She spends hours a day stretching with two different trainers,two different masseuses and employs a chiropractor daily. Also using Meridian Resistance training and keying in on flexibility, Torres is swimming faster than ever before. The resistance stretching is named as the key source for the boost in Torres’s time.
This is not to say that there are not materials that Torres puts in her body outside of natural foods. She has a bountiful set of supplements that she takes daily. All of these supplements are of course approved by the IOC and include amino acid building supplements. The biggest contention of detractors is the asthma medicine she inhales thirty minutes before competition. The medicine increases the amount of air her lungs can take in. This appears to give a string advantage to Torres even though she argues she would not be able to breath at all without it. The medication is, when all is said and done, doctor approved and cleared for competition.
Torres has stood firm on the fact she is clean. She has begged for testing, she has referenced the East Germans she used to compete against and stated she would never do that. The largest show of relative purity is her volunteering in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency program. Michael Phelps is also participating in the program which tests athletes well beyond the standards of normal tests. The USADA will test the urine and blood and Torres has even told them to keep the samples for as long as they want in case something is discovered down the road. She went to the USADA by herself with no legal counsel and offered her to be tested every which way.
This is in my memory the first time anyone under strong suspicion of using PEDs has sought out being tested. Think of those attempted to beguile us. Floyd Landis went on Good Morning America and plead his case, but his sample told the truth. Marion Jones denied time after time, on print and on camera, that she had never taken drugs. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds arrogantly told us they had no part in the steroid crisis in baseball. Rafael Palmeiro pointed his finger at congress months before a test proved him a liar. Torres is attempting to confront this before, during, and after the fact. I at least admire her for that simple fact: she wants the world to know what she has in her system. As these Olympics progress not a day will go by without talk of who may or may not be taking what, and each of us must choose what to believe. I still cannot say one way or the other on Torres and that sadly will continue to be the conclusion of athletes who achieve above the norm.Is Dara Torres Clean? I'm a Believer [NBCOlympics.com]
There's Something Fishy About Old Swimmer [Kansascity.com]