Dara Torres Is a Man, Baby

Daniel MuthSenior Analyst IAugust 9, 2008

What do Vanilla Ice and Dara Torres have in common?

More than you might think.

It’s funny how 41-year-old mother Dara Torres has become some sort of inspirational story to women all over the nation.

For some reason, the fact that she now sports an Adam’s apple, completely ripped physique, diminished breasts (despite being a new mom), and a masculine face, has served as some sort of rallying cry for mid-life-crisis-bound women everywhere. 

Michael Phelps’ foo manchu aside, I can’t wait for Dara to show up to the Olympics sporting hers...or would that give her away? Somehow I don’t think so.

After all the ballyhoo about female empowerment, it seems that penis envy is still alive and well. Please Dara, we don’t want to see it.

On the surface, this appears to be a decent story. 41-year-old women returns to swimming and posts her best time ever. This, despite the fact that fast-twitch muscles are the first to degrade in the aging process.

But then again, we should know better by now shouldn't we? What other 40-plus-year-olds do we know that seemed to produce some of their best outings in the twilight's of their careers? 

Oh yeah, those guys. What were they doing? 

Oh yeah, ingesting HGH at super-human levels. 

HGH, by the way, is still not detectable, as it breaks down after a very short stay in the body. The effects include a dramatic lowering of the body’s fat reserves and fluid levels, increased muscle growth, and more pronounced and angular facial features. 

Hmmm, who does that remind us of? Please ladies. 

We should let this play out before we start telling our daughters that Dara Torres is some sort of icon to aspire to.

There are a litany of mom’s competing for the U.S. in this years Olympics, including Lisa Leslie and Jennie Finch, who haven’t suddenly altered their bodies and appearance. We should be rooting for them. 

And do you really want a body that looks like Dana Torres’, ladies? I can’t see why you would. She’s sacrificed her femininity for the looks of Mr. Ice Ice Baby. And probably has some back hair to boot, though these swimmers are fastidious about their shaving.

For all her insistence to readily be tested for doping, the fact remains that many doping agents are still not detectable or being tested for. Marion Jones, Barry Bonds, or Roger Clemens NEVER failed a drug test, even though they were being tested for years. They were only implicated when other scandals (such as BALCO) came to light. 

There is also this bewildering case of asthma that Torres mysteriously developed two years ago. This happened to be coincided with her comeback, and it now allows her to take Symbicort, a banned substance that increases lung capacity and can effectively mask other illegal agents.

In fact, there now seems to be a rash of athletes that are looking for “medical exemptions” to take albuterol, the active ingredient in Symbicort, because of their sudden cases of asthma. 

Now, it seems to me that if you’re a world-class swimmer, dependant largely on the functioning of your pulmonary system, and are being trained in the United States, which includes multiple physicals and physiological monitoring in real time, then a case of asthma might have been discovered well before Torres turned 14, let alone 41.

It is also worth noting that in EVERY case where a swimmer suddenly appeared to win a medal in the Olympics after entering outside the top 10 in the world, it was later found out that those swimmers were doping. Every Case. Period. This is presently the situation Dara Torres is in.

So, we are now presented with this scenario. The suddenly asthmatic Dara Torres is posting her best times ever, is leaner and more muscular than at any point in her career, and is a better swimmer than she was 20 years ago, when “old” is considered 25 in women’s swimming. Oh yes, and she’s coming from well outside the world’s top 10 to do all this. 


Maybe, but I’m not holding my breath. 

The IOC will now be holding on to doping samples for eight years, so that currently undetectable chemicals can be scanned for in the future. If Torres makes it that long, then perhaps I’ll concede.

But in the mean time, come on ladies, find someone else to emulate. There are plenty of potential candidates in this crop of Olympians from which to draw inspiration. And Dara Torres?

She’s a man, baby, transformed by a very probable cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs.