Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Missy Franklin's Priceless

I was thinking this last night. That smile is spectacular.

At the Wall Street Journal, "A Priceless Gold for Missy Franklin":
LONDON — Here she is, The Amateur. It's a quaint notion these days, deemed unrealistic by most, crazy by some. How does a world-class modern athlete—thriving in a potentially lucrative sport—escape the seductive grasp of professionalism, with its paychecks and sponsors and perquisites?

Isn't pro the way to go? Who among us would not bite the apple? Who could resist the Wheaties box, the lime-colored sports car and the fresh-built mansion with a private screening room serving hot-buttered popcorn?

Especially if we were 17.

But so far Missy Franklin has resisted. She is the exception, not because she wanted to make some kind of grand statement about sports, but because she likes who she is right now. She's the teenage superstar happy to still be a teenager—living in the town she grew up, swimming for her high school team, getting coached by the same coach who has guided her since she was a 7-year-old Starfish.

She hasn't crossed that bright line. Franklin is due to graduate high school in 2013, and she says she wants to swim in college, where NCAA rules prohibit her from taking the cash.

But wowzers, it's gonna be so much cash.

Because Franklin is suddenly cast in one of the most high-profile, remunerative roles in sport: the Olympic sensation. Monday night in London, Franklin won her first gold medal, in the 100-meter backstroke. Now the 6-foot-1 Franklin isn't a could-be from Colorado with the size 13 feet, a future star on the rise.

She's here, fully arrived, the bona fide thing.
Well, she deserves to cash in at some point. But she's so wholesome it's ridiculous.

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