(May 6, 2020 / JNS) The Jewish-American Hall of Fame has announced its 51st inductee, former Olympic swimmer Dara Torres.
Torres competed in five Olympic Games, winning 12 medals and overtaking American swimmer Mark Spitz, who’s also Jewish, with 11 Olympic medals. Spitz earned most of his in the 1972 summer games in Munich, when 11 Israeli Olympic team members were taken hostage and killed, along with a West German police officer.
In her first Olympic games in 1984, Torres won a gold medal for the 100-meter relay. She went on to compete in the 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008 Olympics, winning five medals in 2000, more than anyone else on her team.
In 2008, the oldest-ever Olympic swimmer at age 41 (having given birth only a year earlier), won two silver medals for 100-meter medley relay and 50-meter freestyle, breaking the American freestyle record she had set at the age of 15.
Over the course of her career, Torres won four gold, four silver and four bronze medals at the Olympics, and broke the American record speeds for 50-meter freestyle 10 times, more than any American swimmer in any event.
Her memoir, Age Is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life, was published in April 2009 and listed as one of the top 25 best-selling business books later that year. Her second book, Gold Medal Fitness: A Revolutionary 5-Week Program hit stands this month.
Later this year, the Jewish-American Hall of Fame division of the American Jewish Historical Society will issue a limited number of medals honoring Torres, which will be given to contributors. The hall of fame is a project and institution created by the Judah L. Magnes Museum in Berkeley, Calif.
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