Rock Paper Scissors It Is

8th April 2009

I’m in New York because Hewlett Packard graciously arranged for a few writers to meet Dara Torres. Which? Rad. Torres is a 41-year-old, five-time Olympic swimmer with nine medals, four of them gold. You may be familiar with her rippling abs?

Yeah, now you’re with me.

Anyway, I was reading through our info sheet and realized we get a few minutes alone with her to ask questions or whatnot. I’m pissed that I didn’t pack a swimsuit, or I would obviously challenge her to a dog paddling competition. So I’m asking you, team, what would you do with three minutes alone with Dara Torres?

Keep it clean, people.

22 thoughts on “Rock Paper Scissors It Is

  1. Jill

    Seeing that she has a book called “Age is just a number- achive your dreams at any stage of your life”, I would ask her: What dream does she have that she hasn’t yet achieved.

  2. atalou

    Does the very smell of chlorine still immediately take her back to summertime as a child? Or, is she totally over that now?

  3. Jean-Ann

    Gold medalist, author…WOW! What else is on her list? Also, how does she plan to teach her daughter the importance of setting goals?

  4. Jez

    Tell me about a challenge in your life that tried you at your core. How did you prevail amidst that challenge? And what does that all mean for you now?

  5. spandrel studios

    How do you keep up the motivation and momentum when you really, really, really just *don’t* want to work out one day? (Although, I’m guessing that’s just not an issue for her.)

  6. CityGirl

    “If you were a tree, Dara, what kind of tree would you be?”


    But seriously, how cool would it be if she swam against Michael Phelps in a sequel to the famous Billie Jean King v. Bobby Riggs tennis match?

    Thirty six years later, those of women-of-a-certain-age STILL remember it.

    So would she be game for that?

  7. Sam

    Do you agree with the statement that great achievement is compensation for something, and if so, what is the flipside of your acheivement?

    Or something like: we all know you are a wonderful swimmer, have incredible discipline, and are gorgeous–what *can’t* you do, what do you need help with?

    There have been so many words written about what is glorious about Dara Torres (and there is a LOT, no question), but I am more curious about what makes her like the rest of us. Maybe just ask her what makes her laugh, if the other things feel too disrespectful or confrontational…

  8. dgm

    I would challenge her to a pushup contest, then I’d challenge her to some kind of contest I (i.e., you) could beat her at. Then you guys could respect each other.

    Also, I’d ask her how she feels about everyone making a big deal about her body. It’s beautiful, I don’t deny that, but it’s not like she puts all that work in JUST to have a great body–does she feel like her true accomplishment as an athlete isn’t taken seriously because people tend to focus on how she looks?

  9. AS

    I’m not sure what I would ask her. I’m just fascinated by that picture. I mean – look at her body!

    Since the summer Olympics, I’ve thought of Dara as a beautiful woman. I think the strength of her body is amazing and I have the utmost respect for her.

    I’m always yearning for flatter abs and a more defined body, but the photo you’ve included puts it all in perspective for me. Would I want to look like Dara? I have to admit that I wouldn’t. Her ‘look’ lacks a level of femininity that I should remind myself more often to appreciate.

  10. elsimom

    OMG – lots of questions. I love the “what can’t you do/need help with” one above. I might modify it to “if you weren’t a totally awesome swimmer, what would you be?”
    How about “which of the swimmers you’ve known over your career is the most fun to be around?”
    If you had to pick another sport, instead of swimming, what would it be and why?
    What are you reading?
    As a working mom – what’s something that you’ve had to give up that you miss?
    What’s your favorite place that you’ve traveled as an athlete?

    Okay – I’ll stop – please promise that you’ll tell us what you asked her, and what she said.

  11. JRM

    I like the questions posed by commenter no. 1 and No. 2. Although, she tore her meniscus cartiledge (which I did too — See Olympians, They’re Just Like Us) and want to know how she recovered so quickly? Does she still have pain?

  12. kate the great

    Do some research. Find out another of her hobbies. Hardly touch on the swimming thing, just ask about stuff you don’t think she’s heard a billion times.

    That’s what I did when I met Nando Parrado. Never mentioned what he had to eat up on that mountain. We talked about cars.

  13. Lindsay

    Maybe, “if you weren’t a swimmer/author/mom, what would you be?”

    “When you were 10 years old, what did you imagine your future would be like?”

  14. RD

    I’d ask what happened to her left forearm. It looks like a chunk is missing and the rest is dessicated.

  15. Stephanie

    Does she have a c-section scar, or did she deliver naturally? Did she exercise throughout her pregnancy or did she fall off the wagon and gain more weight than she should have. What is her guiltiest pleasure – and don’t let the answer be “swimming” or “working out.” It has to be something like watching “Sex in the City” or marshmallow peeps or something like that.

  16. Jennifer M. in PA

    If she could meet anyone, who would it be and why? (This may provide some interesting insight if the answer is totally left-field and not sports-related).

    How has having a child changed her perspective on her life and her goals?

    Will she encourage her daughter to jump into sports or let her follow her own path? What if she wants to be a painter and has NO interest in sports whatsoever, would that disappoint Dara?

    She converted to Judaism before marrying her second husband (now divorced). How does her faith guide her in life?

    What’s her favorite movie? Favorite band?

    Which Olympic village was the most fun to hang out in?

    Good luck, Maggie!

  17. Krystal

    As a former high school swimmer, I see only beauty in a swimmers body! With that being said, having 2 babies killed my swimmers body.

    My question would be:

    How do you do it? Weight training, swimming, being a mom. How do you do it all?

    I get that where there is a will there is a way.

    But, really how?…

    There is only so many hours in a day.

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