Missy Franklin: Grading Her London 2012 Olympic Performance
Missy Franklin has gotten off to a fantastic start in the London Olympics. The 17-year-old phenom in the swimming world has a bright career ahead of her. She is already winning titles and breaking records at an age where she can't even vote in the presidential election.
Obviously, a 17-year-old competing for gold in the Olympics is astounding, but let's take a closer look at her performances so far, grading her not as a teenager but as an Olympian.
4x100-meter Freestyle Relay
Franklin swam first in the 4x100-meter relay final with Jessica Hardy, Lia Neal and Allison Schmitt following. She finished her leg in 53.52 seconds and put the Americans out front to an early lead. They kept the top spot until the 250-meter mark and fell back to an eventual third place finish.
Franklin was not only in first when her leg was over, but she had the fastest split on her team. It was not her best performance, however. In the same event during the 2011 World Championships, she swam it in 52.99 seconds.
Though it wasn't her best time, she put the team in position to win and did her job on the first leg.
Franklin came into this event as the reigning national champion, but looked to spread her dominance in the 100-meter backstroke worldwide during Day 3 of the Olympics. She won both of her heats coming into the final, but took it to a whole new level with a gold medal in sight.
After swimming the race with a time of 59.37 seconds in her first heat and 59.12 in the semifinals, Franklin set an Americas record by taking the gold in 58.33 seconds. The only thing she didn't do was break the world record, but she got the win and the gold.
Though she isn't as dominant in the 200-meter freestyle event, there was plenty of hype surrounding Franklin after winning gold the night before. After finishing fourth in the semifinal, she squeaked into the finals with the eighth best time.
Her eighth lane start didn't stop her from making a run for the podium though. After 50 meters, she was in the lead. Her pace was much too quick, however, and she faded to a fourth-place finish, over two seconds behind winner Allison Schmitt. Her quest for a medal was denied in excruciating fashion as she came within .01 seconds of third place.
Overall, the teenage star has seen rousing success in her first Olympic games. Had she paced herself in the 200-meter freestyle, she may have received three medals in three races. This is just the beginning for the Franklin, in both these Olympics and in the years to follow.
Overall Grade: B+
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