Olympic swimmer Dara Torres talks about psoriasis.
While training for the 1992 Olympic Games, swimmer Dara Torres started noticing red, flaky patches on her elbows. At first she chalked them up to dry skin caused by chlorine, so she slathered on lotion and kept swimming. After these itchy spots persisted for a month or two, she finally saw a dermatologist who diagnosed her with plaque psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and scaling of the skin.
At first, the 12-time Olympic medalist was embarrassed by her conspicuous condition. As she puts it, “my business suit is my swimsuit.” So Torres focused on training in an attempt to push her shame aside and block out thoughts of what others wondered when they saw her aggravated skin. “Of course I had people looking at me and thinking, ‘Oh, am I going to get that if I go in the same pool as her?’ But once I was educated about what psoriasis is,” she says, referring to the non-contagious affliction, “I decided I was not going to let this stop me from trying to go for my dreams.”
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