Dara Torres

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At age 41, Dara Torres is a swimming phenomenon. In the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympic Games, Dara made waves as the oldest U.S. swimmer to ever win gold. Since then, Dara became the mother of a little girl named Tessa—and trained her way back for her fifth Olympic Games.

While in Beijing, Dara battled a painful shoulder injury—and competitors 20 years her junior—but it didn't stop her winning spirit. She seized her Olympic moment and won a silver medal in the 50-meter freestyle, missing gold by just one one-hundredth of a second. "You can't even blink that fast," Dara says.

After the race, Dara says she wondered what she could have done better. "I called my coach who was watching in the hospital, and he said, 'You know, Dara, I watched your race five times. There's really nothing else you could have done,'" she says. "But I keep thinking, 'Yes, there had to have been something!'"