Dara Torres Named to U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame

It’s the (Hall of) Fame game forDara Torres

The 52-year-old Cuban American former competitive swimmer has been named to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame‘s class of 2019. 

Dara Torres,

Torres is a 12-time medalist and former world record-holder in three events. She is the first swimmer to represent the United States in five Olympic Games (1984, 1988, 1992, 2000 and 2008), and at age 41, was the oldest swimmer to earn a place on the U.S. Olympic team. 

At the 2008 Beijing Games, she competed in the 50-meter freestyle, 4×100-meter medley relay, and 4×100-meter freestyle relay, and won silver medals in all three events.

Torres has won 12 Olympicmedals (four gold, four silver, four bronze), one of three women with the most Olympic women’s swimming medals. She also won at least one medal in each of the five Summer Games in which she has competed, making her one of only a handful of Olympians to earn medals in five different Games.

The rest of the class: Champion gymnast Nastia Liukin, once-shunned track stars Tommie Smithand John Carlos, Candace CableErin PopovichChris Waddell(Paralympics), Lisa Leslie(basketball), Misty May-Treanor(beach volleyball), Apolo Anton Ohno(short track speedskating), the 1998 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team, Ron O’Brien(diving coach) and Tim Nugent(special contributor).

The USOPC will hold an induction ceremony on November 1 in Colorado Springs, Colorado — the first since 2012.

After the Hall of Fame essentially stalled out, the USOPC’s Sarah Hirshlandpushed to revive it as part of a federation effort to focus more on athletes.

“We thank them for their impact on sport and society, and for continuing to inspire the next generation of athletes and fans,” Hirshland said.

Veronica Falcon to Star in HBO’s Limited Series “Perry Mason”

Veronica Falconwill be flying high

The 52-year-old Mexican actress has landed a recurring role opposite Matthew Rhys in Perry Mason, HBO’s limited series from Team Downey.

Veronica Falcon

Written and executive produced by Rolin Jonesand Ron Fitzgerald, who also will showrun, and based on the characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, the reimagined Perry Mason is set in 1931 Los Angeles. 

While the rest of the country suffers through the Great Depression, this city is booming! Oil! Olympic Games! Talking Pictures! Evangelical Fervor! And a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong! 

Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, the limited series follows the origins of American Fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason (Rhys). When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason’s relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself.

Falcon is Lupe. A pilot and hard-drinking owner of a speakeasy, Lupe is a she-demon of the California skies and the 3rd place air speed champion of the world.

Rhys also is a producer on the series. Robert and Susan Downey, who developed the project, executive produce along with Team Downey’s Amanda Burrell, and Joe HoracekTim Van Pattendirects and executive produces.

Falcon starred for three seasons on USA’s hit series Queen of the South. She can currently be seen in Perpetual Grace LTD. alongside Sir Ben Kingsley and Jackie Weaverfor Epix. She can also be seen leading an episode of the HBO anthology series Room 104 and in Disney’s upcoming feature Jungle Cruise.

Hernandez Helps Lead the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team to Gold at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Laurie Hernandez isn’t old enough to vote, but she’s already a golden girl…

The 16-year-old Puerto Rican gymnast helped lead her team to gold in the women’s gymnastics competition at the 2016 Rio Games.

Laurie Hernandez & the US Women's Gymnastics Team

Hernandez and her teammates, the self-proclaimed “Final Five,” proved that the Americans really were just as dominant as they looked during team qualifications, easily winning gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

It’s the first time that the U.S. women have won back-to-back gold medals at an Olympic Games.

Russia took home the silver, while China wrangled the bronze away from Japan.

And after Simone Biles’ score went up as the final competitor on floor exercise, the team also announced its much-anticipated team name: the “Final Five.”

Laurie Hernandez

The U.S. women opened up on vault with Hernandez, an upstart, putting up a 15.100. Hernandez found herself in the vault lineup after outscoring teammate Gabby Douglas during qualifying. Aly Raisman continued her run of impressive Amanars and nailed the landing once again for a huge 15.833. Biles did what she has been doing for the last three years and scored a 15.933 with a stellar Amanar of her own.

The Americans moved onto the uneven bars where Douglas and Madison Kocian each got their moment to shine. It was the only event that both gymnasts would appear on in the team final competition. They did not disappoint. Douglas put up a 15.766, while Kocian hit the 15.9 mark for the second time at this Olympics with a 15.933.

Laurie Hernandez

On the balance beam, Raisman corrected the error she had on her side aerial in the qualifying meet to come away with a 15.000. The scores kept on building from there. Hernandez went up and was rock solid looking more like a veteran, than the young first-time Olympian that she is. Her 15.233 was just shy of the score that landed her in the balance beam event final. Biles had a minor bobble on her acrobatic series early on, but still put up the top score on beam for the United States.

“Man, we were ready,” Hernandez said. “So, so ready.”

The American women beat Russia by 8.209 points, the largest margin of victory since the 1960 Rome Games, where six athletes’ scores were included in each apparatus total. In Rio, only three individual scores were tallied in each event.

A three-time world champion, Biles is the overwhelming favorite to win all-around gold Thursday, but the mantle of breakout American star at these Olympics belongs to Hernandez.

About 36 hours before the start of the team competition, Martha Karolyi, the U.S. national team coordinator, told Hernandez she would be participating in three events—the vault, the balance beam and the floor exercise. Upon hearing the news, Hernandez, the first Latina gymnast on the U.S. team since Annia Hatch a dozen years ago, felt like screaming in joy. She was selected over Douglas, the reigning all-around Olympic gold medal winner, and Kocian, a specialist on the uneven bars.

“I’ve worked so hard for this moment, and I wanted to be out there for my country,” she said. “There was no doubt about my abilities at all in my mind.”

In the preliminary round of the team competition, Hernandez became a trending topic on Twitter after her floor exercise as she danced and tumbled her way into the imagination of fans across the globe. Nicknamed “Baby Shakira” and “The Human Emoji” for her vivid facial expressions, she engaged the crowd with a stage performer’s ease—a prodigy born to be in the bright lights.

In her final floor routine, she again dazzled spectators with her rhythmic moves, first learned in ballet lessons at the age of three. In between opening with a double layout and closing with a tucked double back, she danced like no one was looking, which caused everyone who was looking to roar.

Unable to contain her joy after sticking her final flip—a refreshing trait in women’s gymnastics—she blew kisses to the fans.

“I wish I could dance like Laurie,” Douglas said. “She can feel it during her floor routine like no one else I’ve ever seen. That’s why the crowd loves her so much, because it’s just natural for her.”

Much as the crowd loves her, they won’t see her in the individual floor final. Even though she finished with the third-best score Tuesday, each country can send only two athletes per event, and Biles and Raisman beat her out. She’ll next compete Monday in the balance beam final.

Rousseff: The World’s Most Powerful Latina

For the forth straight year, Dilma Rousseff has managed to retain her title as the most powerful Latina in the world.

Dilma Rousseff

The 66-year-old Brazilian president—the first woman ever to hold that office—ranks No. 4 on Forbes’ recently released The World’s Most Powerful Women 2014 list.

It’s the magazine’s definitive annual guide to the extraordinary female icons and leaders, groundbreakers and ceiling crashers who command the world stage.


Rousseff, who dropped two spots from her No. 2 rank in 2013, is heralded as “one of the world’s most powerful heads of state.” She’s more than halfway through her term as president of Brazil, the world’s seventh-largest national economy with a GDP of nearly $2.4 trillion. The country is hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016.

Rousseff criticized the U.S. for spying during her opening speech at the UN General Assembly this fall and cancelled a state visit over reports that the National Security Agency was intercepting her emails.

Mary Barra

Mary Barra, the first woman to head General Motors, moves up 28 spots from last year’s list to come in No. 7 in 2014.

As the highest-ranking woman at GM, the 52-year-old Latina executive has played a vital role in the company’s restoration, successfully overseeing an array of recent vehicle introductions. She has received high-level recognitions for her contributions to her field, including being named the No. 1 most powerful woman in the automotive industry by Fortune and among the “50 Latinas Who Rock Fortune 500 Companies” by Latina magazine.

Barra took the reins of GM in January and in April was summoned to appear in front of the U.S. Congress to answer for faulty ignition switches linked to 13 deaths, saying “I am deeply sorry.” But the 33-year veteran, who began at the company at 18 while working toward an electrical engineering degree, remained poised and confident under fire. Her leadership, she said, will bring about a “new GM” able to regain customer trust.

Maria das Graças Silva Foster

Maria das Graças Silva Foster, the CEO of Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petrobras-Petróleo Brasil, moves up two spots to come in at No. 16 this year.

The 60-year-old Brazilianbusiness executive escaped a childhood in a favela on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro to become a chemical engineer and later the first female CEO of Petrobras. After 30 years with the company, she has the experience and connections (including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff) to make running a company with assets exceeding $100 billion work. The company posted $141 billion in sales and it continues to anchor Brazil’s economy as it invests in vast underwater oil field exploration off the nation’s coast.


The next Latina on the list: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who rises from No. 26 in 2013 to No. 19 this year.

The 61-year-old Argentinean president, who reigns over a country with the world’s highest inflation rates, is still trying to make amends with global creditors after the $95 billion default on its foreign debt in 2002. And it’s working: this year marks the first time Argentina has received loans from international creditors since then. The offers, including talk of $1 billion from Goldman Sachs, follows a $500 million settlement with five foreign companies. Kirchner legalized same-sex marriage in 2010, and in April announced she’ll be godmother to a lesbian couple’s child; they made the ask on Facebook.

Here’s a look at the other Latinas on the list…

No. 25 Michelle Bachelet, President, Chile
No. 32 Sofia Vergara, Actress
No. 58 Shakira Mebarak, Singer
No. 89 Gisele Bundchen, Supermodel

Click here to see the complete list of honorees.

Dawson’s Thriller “Trance” to be Released in April

Rosario Dawson will be leave moviegoers in a Trance starting in April…

Rosario Dawson in Trance

Fox Searchlight has set an April 5 platform release for Trance, the Danny Boyle-directed psychological thriller starring the 33-year-old Puerto Rican/Cuban American actress, James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel.

Trance, which arrives in theaters in the United Kingdom on March 27 via Pathe and 20th Century Fox, follows a fine-art auctioneer mixed up with a criminal gang who joins forces with a hypnotherapist (Dawson) to recover a lost Goya painting.

This is Boyle’s first film since 2010′s 127 Hours. The filmmaker shot Trance just before taking time out to direct the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 London Games last summer. Boyle returned after the Olympic Games to complete the film’s postproduction.

Lochte Earns His Second Gold Medal at the London Games

London Olympics 2012

It’s a return to golden form for Ryan Lochte at the 2012 Olympic Games

After two disappointing days, the 27-year-old half-Cuban American swimmer swam the first leg of the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay final in 1:45.15 on Tuesday, nearly a second faster than his closest competitor to help the U.S. men coast to gold, winning the race by more than a body’s length.

Ryan Lochte

Lochte had started his run at the 2012 Olympic Games by winning the U.S.’s first gold medal at the London Games in the men’s 400-meter individual medley on Saturday.

But the following night, he was out-raced on the final leg of the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay, dropping the Americans to second place. On Monday, he didn’t even make the podium in the 200-meter freestyle final.

In a mere two days, Lochte had gone from the greatest swimmer in the world to someone down on himself.

“The past two days I wasn’t myself,” Lochte admitted Tuesday night. “After that relay my confidence went down. Everyone just kept telling me, ‘You know what? You’re better than that. Just forget about that and move on.’ ”

So Lochte got up Tuesday morning and, for the first time since the games started, didn’t have to rush to the London Aquatics Centre for a morning preliminary heat. He didn’t hit the water at all, which he believes helped him in the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

Ryan Lochte

“I woke up this morning and I was back to myself,” Lochte said. “I was that happy, go-lucky guy. I think that’s what really helped me throughout the whole day and that swim tonight. Now, I can take that energy and put it into tomorrow’s races.”

Can Lochte’s strong performance in the relay help get his Olympics back on track? He still has to swim the 200-meter backstroke – his specialty – the 200-meter individual medley and likely the medley relay.

Lochte’s teammate Ricky Berens, who contributed to the 4×200 free gold, believes in the momentum that can come from one strong relay swim.

“Being at the Olympics, it’s an individual sport but we’re all so a team,” Berens said. “Having this relay, winning that gold medal, we really had a great, great race. … I saw Michael (Phelps) have a different face on him right now. The way (Phelps and Lochte’s) demeanor is right now, I’m sure this night definitely helped.”

Nocioni’s Ready to Play Ball, NBA Lockout or Not!

Philadelphia 76ers forward Andrés Nocioni isn’t letting the NBA lockout keep him from playing ball.

The 32-year-old Argentinean basketball star is returning to his homeland to play for the Club Atlético Peñarol (Mar del Plata), the two-time reigning champion of the country’s Liga Nacional de Básquet (LNB).

Andrés Nocioni joins Argentina's Club Atlético Peñarol


Chapu,” as he’s commonly known, will play for the team in the Super 8, a tournament played at the end of the year that features the eight teams
with the best records in the first half of the season.

“I always wanted to play here,” said Nocioni during a team press conference. “And when the opportunity arose, I made it a reality.”

Nocioni calls the NBA lockout an “atypical situation and really confusing;” and when he’s done with the Super 8 tournament, he’ll think about whether to continue with Peñarol or sign a contract with a European basketball team.

“Staying put would have been crazy because the Olympic Games in London are so close,” says Nocioni, who will once again be coached by Sergio
Oveja Hernández.

Hernandez is thrilled that Nocioni has signed on to play with Peñarol, while Nocioni’s friend and new team member Leonardo Gutiérrez calls his arrival “a pride and pleasure.”

Nocioni is part of the so-called “Golden Generation” of basketball of Argentina, who won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in
Athens and a bronze at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Before his trade to the Philadelphia 76ers, Nocioni played for the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings.