After her first Olympic appearance, swimmer Missy Franklin will not be celebrating with a visit to a London pub.
Instead, the 17-year-old announced she will be getting a tattoo. "I'm definitely going to get a tattoo," she told nbcolympics.com at a pre-Olympic training camp. "I'm going to get it after the games."
It has become a commonality for Olympic athletes to get themselves inked after they have competed in their events. They normally wait not only to avoid jinxing themselves, but also to allow the wounds time to heal. This healing process can take weeks, and Franklin, along with the other athletes, say they do not want to risk getting an infection.
The American teenager did make sure to get the approval of her mother and father, a doctor and business executive, respectively. "My parents are fine with it. I think they're just as excited as I am," she said.
The five rings are the most popular choice by far, but what part of the body the athletes get them on varies. Fellow swimmers Michael Phelps has two near his Speedo line, Ryan Lochte has one on his bicep, and Brendan Hansen has one on his right shoulder. Franklin has chosen to be a little more discreet and is getting one on her right hip.
This news surrounding Missy Franklin and her inking decision exposes new norms in American culture.
As widely criticized as the practice is, it has become extremely popular—especially among athletes. They view them as permanent stamps of their success in their sport. It carries a special meaning for each of the athletes to remind them of all of their training and hard work.
So no matter how she finishes in the 2012 London Games, Missy Franklin will soon have have a permanent symbol on her right hip to represent her accomplishments and a motivation reminder to train hard for 2016.