Missy Franklin – 2012
When Missy started “swimming” at age 2, nobody was dreaming of her brilliant five-medal performance (four gold and one bronze) at the 2012 Olympic Games in London where she became on international legend for her athletic skills and personhood. By age 12, however, she was on the Sportswomen of Colorado radar screen as “Most Promising” and went on the win an SWOC swimming award three years in a row – making her the youngest person ever inducted to the SWOC Hall of Fame. She then was the 2011 Sportswoman of the Year.
As the holder of 10 national age group records, Missy became a national role model when she competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials at age 13. At 14, she was named to the USA Swimming ‘s prestigious Duel in Pool team and swam with Michael Phelps and other U.S. stars in Manchester, England. At the 2010 National Championships, the 6-foot-1 Centennial teenager competed in six individual events and qualified for the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships. She then earned her first international medals with two silvers at the 2010 FINA Short Course Championships in Dubai and was named Breakout Performer of the Year at the Golden Goggle Awards. Her first long-course world championship meet was at age 15 in the 2011 World Aquatics Championship in Shanghai where she captured five medals (three gold, one silver and one bronze) and earned FINA Swimmer of the Year laurels. She also was the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame’s top 2010 Prep Athlete and 2011 Athlete of the Year.
In London, Missy swept the 100- and 200-meter backstroke events and took top honors in the 4×200-meter freestyle and 4×100 medley relays, setting world records in the 200 back and 4×100 medley relay. She also won a bronze medal in the 4x 100 freestyle relay and at year’s end, was named both American and World Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World magazine.
Instead of cashing in on her celebrity status, Missy returned to the Colorado Stars and prep competition, sparking Regis Jesuit H. S. to its second state title in three years. She continues to refuse prize money and endorsements so she can maintain her amateur status in college, even though at the end of 2012, she had won 12 medals in international competition and owned four World and two American records. No wonder she wears size 13 shoes!