In a venue where the young have the edge, collect medals like candy and blast world records into oblivion, Tomescu-Dita won the race by a hefty margin.
That should come as no shock. The marathon is one of those events where contestants get better as they get older. It takes a little bit of time to develop the stamina needed to maintain a steady pace for two (or more) hours. And because the race is so long, the best runners have the experience and wisdom to run a strategic race instead of just a tactical one.
So how do you explain Dara Torres, Silver Medallist in the 50m Splash and Dash?
This is Dara’s 5th Olympic experience. She is 41 years old and she competed against women who were probably young enough to be her daughter. In an event that is supposed to favor the strength, power and speed of the young, Dara jumped into the pool and proceeded to show everyone “who’s the boss”.
In an interview after the race, Dara’s parting advice was, “…don’t put an age limit on your dreams.”
She’s right. Too often, I’ve heard people say, “I’m too old to [fill in the blank]”, or “It’s too late for me to [fill in the blank]”. Some of them were even in a couple of my classes!
You will face some challenges. There will be some events that stand in your way. That’s all a part of life. But the only thing that really stops you from reaching your goal, is you.
Age does play a factor in physical and mental performance. However, the more important factor at play here is the attitude of the performer. As I was telling my buddy Mike, “It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to get the job done.”
But don’t take my word for it. Go ask Torres.
Less than 10 minutes after receiving her Silver Medal in the 50m Freestyle Sprint, she was back in the water to anchor her team in the Women’s 100m Medley Relay.
They took the Silver!
Who’s Your Mama?