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Dara Torres and her Olympic Balancing Act

Dara So you think your work/life balancing act is exhausting. Imagine if that balancing act includes a quest for a gold medal.

There has been a lot of talk about Dara Torres, a Florida girl, and a 41-year-old swimmer who came out of retirement and is going for the gold in Beijing. Dara is the first American swimmer to compete in five Olympic Games and oldest female swimmer in the history of the Games. Even with all the noise about her age, two days ago she anchored the US team that won silver in the women's 4x100 meters freestyle relay.

Dara says motherhood inspired her comeback but it also requires this Olympian to do the same balancing act as other working moms. Dara trained even while sleep-deprived with a newborn. She competed in relays with her baby in a carriage poolside. She told Women's Health: "I get out of the pool after a workout and look on my BlackBerry to see if the nanny called and to make sure everything's okay. My child is always on my mind."

Women's Health magazine says this diehard Olympic swimmer is proof that (1) your body can be rock-hard at 40; (2) a baby doesn't have to slow you down; and (3) when it comes to any goal, it's all about how bad you want it

When Dara qualified she said the trip to Beijing would be  "bittersweet," because she will need to spend up to a month away from her 2-year-old daughter, Tessa Grace.  Such a prolonged absence is something Dara said will be "real hard emotionally.'' I heard her in a TV interview Monday night and she spoke about how regardless how she performs at the Olympics, she can't wait to get back and spend time with her daughter. In an interview with Matt Lauer, she said: “You really just have to find a good balance. I consider myself almost like a working mom, even though this is really a lot of fun, what I’m doing,” she told Lauer. “There’s so many moms out there who work 9 to 5 and then have to take care of their children. I feel like I’m one of them. I always put my daughter first, and I think that’s the most important thing.”

      I'm inspired by Dara. Are you? Do you think her balancing act is more difficult than most working parents? Will there be more pressure on her to put her career first as she rises in celebrity status?