Missy Franklin: Why U.S. Gold Medalist Is Great for Swimming

Oliver ThomasContributor IAugust 1, 2012

Missy Franklin has been great for swimming.
Missy Franklin has been great for swimming.Adam Pretty/Getty Images

United States Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin is a bright, young talent in a sport loaded with veteran dominance.

The 17-year-old opened a new chapter in U.S. swimming history by earning bronze in the women's 4x100-meter freestyle on July 28 and snagging gold in the women's 100-meter backstroke on July 30.

Over the last several Olympics, the U.S. swim teams have been known for Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Dara Torres. Finally, Franklin's fresh face can be added to that company.

It's not all about Olympic hardware with Franklin, it's about her character. Franklin's demeanor gives fans a likable and genuine swimmer to root for. Franklin's mother, D.A., discussed her daughter's lovable personality on Today via MSNBC.com blogger Eun Kyung Kim:

"Missy is just always like that. She’s always been smiling, happy,” her mother, D.A. Franklin, told Today Tuesday. “I think she smiled when she was born. She’s just a happy child.”

Franklin is somebody people can relate to. She hasn't been swept up in the wake of success. That's something to be admired.

The new pride of U.S. swimming, Franklin's road to becoming an Olympian is not the norm in today's society.

The Washington Post's Janice D'Arcy reports that the fan favorite remained loyal during her journey to stardom:

Franklin has been coached by the same local Denver guy since she was seven. And she has stuck with the same club, which doesn’t even have its own pool. And, even now, her training regiment is thought to be far less strenuous than other competitors.

Franklin hasn't needed the high-end workout facilities and coaches that most athletes rely on. She didn't need to abandon her native Colorado to reach her dreams.

She just needed hone in on her will and skill to win. Franklin has done that. As a result, she's the next big thing in swimming.

According to NBCOlympics.com, Franklin has three more events to go. The 6'1" speedster can add to her already storybook summer, but what she has accomplished thus far has been quite the feat.