Let's start by dispelling some rumors about
But let's also confirm this about the amazing 41-year-old Torres: Her two silver medals on Sunday in the swimming competition are a resounding victory for the masters' set, the over-40s who, at least in Torres' sport, are expected to get the nice going-away watch even before their 30th birthdays. If
Torres led for most of the 50-meter freestyle on Sunday, before being out-touched by Germany's
Torres has been doing it since the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, where she won a gold medal on the U.S. 4x100-meter freestyle relay team when she was just 17. That was five Olympic teams ago. Back then, disco was barely dead,
"For so long in this sport," said
Yes, doping rumors have dogged her for years, but Phelps' coach,
Consider what a difficult double she had on Sunday, as much mentally as physically. At 10:40 a.m. Beijing time, she left the awards stand, wearing the silver medal from the 50 free, a race she came within a fingernail of winning. In that time, she fought the temptation to review the race and review her career, because she still had one more race to swim with her teammates. Then she posed for pictures for photographers, tossed her flowers into the stands at 10:41, posed for some more pictures and apologized for running off to the ready room at 10:42. At that point, the announcer began introducing the swimmers for the medley relay. As her teammates walked onto the pool deck, waiting for her to join them, Torres placed her medal inside and skipped back toward Lane 4. The unofficial count of elapsed time between leaving the pool deck from an emotional ceremony and skipping back onto it to race again was 54 seconds. Of the eight women swimming the freestyle legs on their relay teams, Torres recorded the fastest split, at 52.27 seconds, but it wasn't enough to catch Australia's
As she left the pool to wait for her second medal, Torres was actually answering questions from her rivals, Trickett and Steffen, about childbirth, at one point mimicking the actual procedure right in the ready room. In Beijing, the mom has lived up to both her nicknames and her legend.