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Dara Torres Proves 43 Is the New 20

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Guest blogger Dr. Cynthia Paulis: What do veteran actress Betty White and veteran swimmer Dara Torres have in common? Simple: Neither woman has let society dictate what age she is supposed to retire.

Dara Torres

At 88½, Betty White became the oldest person to host "Saturday Night Live" when she appeared on the show last week. Crowds lined the streets of N.Y.C. days before with the hope of obtaining a coveted ticket to the show. Now 43, Dara Torreshas not only competed in five Olympics (winning multiple medals), but in Beijing in 2008 -- having given birth to her daughter, Tessa, just a year or so before -- she beat her own world record that she had first set at age 14.

Both Betty and Dara are powerhouses of energy and optimism, and refuse to let society dictate a shelf life of age expectations. Each woman has beaten the odds, breaking through both gender and age barriers. So what makes these women run like the Energizer Bunny -- never stopping, never looking back? Is 88.5 the new 50, and 43 the new 20? What is the secret to their healthy outlook on life and their drive to stay in the game?

I recently caught up with Dara Torres by phone as she was landing in LaGuardia Airport in New York to promote her new book -- "Gold Medal Fitness" -- on the "Today" show.

Cynthia Paulis: What makes you tick?

Dara Torres: It depends on if you are talking about work or personal. If it is work, then competition makes me tick. If it is personal, then it is my daughter that makes me tick.

CP: How often do you work out?

DT: I work out five days a week, giving myself two days off --Thursdays and Sundays.

CP: Are you planning to try out for the 2012 Olympics?

DT: My head and my heart say "Go for it!" -- but my body needs to follow suit.

CP: How do you silence the naysayers?

DT: At 33, they thought I was way too old. I just light a fire to my ass andshow them they are wrong. I take a negative and use it as a positive.

CP: I think Betty White would say the same, although she might be a bit naughtier! One more question: Are you raising a competitive child?

DT: You don't raise her to be competitive. You want your child to be competitive rather than lackadaisical, but it is a learned thing. I have no idea where she gets it from!


next: Note to Self for Next Mother's Day
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