She’s really tall. She’s really talented. She’s really, really happy to be here. Missy Franklin, 17, a rising high school senior with a perfect swimmer’s physique and a nearly ever-present grin, could land more medals at these Games than any other swimmer in the world — including U.S. teammate Michael Phelps.
Franklin put her considerable size (she’s 6 feet 1 and has size-13 feet), enviable skills and irrepressible spirit on display at the U.S. trials in Omaha, never displaying a frayed nerve or succumbing to a bad swim.
She enters the London Games dodging comparisons to Phelps and seeking as many medals as he seeks: seven. Franklin is considered not just the top U.S. female swimmer, but likely the top woman in the world.
“She can be as big as she wants to be,” said Amy Van Dyken, who became the first American woman to win four gold medals at an Olympics in the 1996 Games in Atlanta. “She has the potential to break the record I set in 1996. She can win five or six gold medals in London.”
Franklin hinted at her prowess at last year’s world championships in Shanghai, winning five medals, including three gold. At these Games, she will compete in the 100 and 200 backstrokes and 100 and 200 freestyles, and all three relays.
“I am the luckiest girl in the world,” Franklin said during the trials. “I have worked so, so hard, and the fact that it’s all paying off, it’s so incredible. It’s just the proof that if you give your best, love what you do, anything can happen.”