Missy Franklin: London Was First Step in What Will Be Legendary Olympics Career

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IAugust 2, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 30:  Missy Franklin of the United States celebrates with her gold medal during the medal ceremony for the Women's 100m Backstroke on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
Adam Pretty/Getty Images

Missy "The Missile" Franklin already has accomplished enough for most athletes to base an outstanding career on, but this 17-year-old is just getting started. 

Franklin is going to build on this success and come back even stronger in 2016. In those Olympics, she will still be just 21, which is a fairly typical age for female Olympics swimmers. 

In other words, Franklin should just be hitting her peak in 2016. Fast-forward four more years to 2020, and you have a 25-year-old Franklin. 

This is a little older than the typical swimmer, but not by much. Just for a frame of reference, Dana Vollmer is 24, and she is fresh off a gold-medal, world-record swim in the 100-meter butterfly. 

Not until the 2024 Olympics do we reach a point where her age may be too much to overcome. Franklin will be 29, and that is just not an age where you typically see female swimmers excelling—although it is not out of the question. 

After all, teammate Natalie Coughlin is a big-time factor in these Olympics, and she is 29. And that is nothing compared to Dara Torres, who won a relay silver in the 2008 Games as a 41-year-old. 

Now, I'm not bringing this up to say that Franklin will be at an Olympic level at age 41 or even 29. Everyone's body ages differently, and it would be foolish to try to forecast how hers will. 

However, as talented as she is, it certainly seems like she will still be going strong at 29, and maybe further. 

In other words. Franklin likely has three more Olympics where she can realistically plan on winning medals, and two more where she will be able to perform better than she did here. 

That is a scary thought for anyone competing against her—and anyone in charge of re-writing record books.