Missy Franklin could become the most decorated Olympian in history when it's all said and done, and it will all start in London.
The Colorado teenager is just 17 years old, and will be competing in an astounding seven events at the 2012 Olympics (the same number as Michael Phelps will this year), which will set a record for a U.S. woman (per Denver Post).
Phelps has become the gold standard for Olympic swimmers. His eight gold medals in Beijing set an Olympic record and he will need just three medals in London to set the record for the most medals in a career.
But his glory may be short-lived.
There's a girl out in Colorado who could very well surpass his final total (whatever it will be) thanks to her prowess at such a young age.
Franklin is already an elite swimmer. While it is unlikely that she medals in all seven events, she could easily medal in about four or five during the 2012 Games.
Given the fact that she's only 17 and could be in the shape of an Olympian until she's about 30 she still has at least three Olympics left after London.
Let's say she wins four medals in London.
As she continues to progress, her counts will eventually go up to five, six, seven or maybe even eight. If she competes in four Olympics during her career she will only need to average roughly five medals per Games to hit 20, which could easily give her the final record.
For this teenage phenom who has yet to reach her full potential, that will be nothing but child's play.
Franklin remains humble about what she's doing, but she may soon have the right to call herself the greatest who ever lived.
"It sounds absolutely amazing," Franklin said. "I am so thrilled to be able to compete in seven events. Definitely it's my biggest dream. I never thought I'd be able to accomplish it, but the fact that it's been done is the best feeling in the world." (h/t Denver Post)
The best feeling in the world will be topped in later Games, however.
Soon Franklin will be able to put up numbers that people didn't even dream of. She already owns three World Championship gold medals, two world records and an American record in the 100-meter backstroke.
Franklin has been having a freakishly successful career thus far. She's been simply dominant, and she's not even a legal adult yet.
While this is pure speculation, I expect her to continue improving and winning.
She should have well over 20 Olympic medals by the end of her four Games as long as she continues to improve, and barring any unforeseen injuries, she will enjoy the most Olympic success in history.
Her long road to the top will begin in London, however, where she will look to unite her hometown, which needs someone to root for.
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