Missy Franklin: Staying an Amateur the Right Idea for 17-Year-Old Swimmer

Sebastian MaldonadoFeatured ColumnistAugust 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 Franklin has become a hot commodity in the London Olympics.

The 17-year-old swimmer already has two gold medals and one bronze medal. She could have another in today’s 100-meter freestyle race, and she also has the opportunity to tie Natalie Coughlin’s record of six medals in one Olympiad. 

However, her decision to remain an amateur can be startling to hear. It could have been a negative outlook on the swimmer, but she made the right call.

John Clark, of Forbes Magazine, reported Franklin could lose out on millions in endorsement deals because of her decision to not go pro. It’s a decision that could effectively taker her out of the spotlight, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Franklin wants to remain an amateur and compete in the NCAA. Experts say her salary of endorsements would have been seven figures and as high as $2 million.

Despite the tempting offer, Franklin wants to attend college after the Olympics and compete on the collegiate level. It’s likely she’ll return to the next Olympics at Rio de Janeiro better than ever.

The last thing Franklin needs is distractions from becoming famous. Maybe she could handle the fame and fortune that goes with being an incredible athlete. But it’s her decision.

She made a choice to stay out of the limelight and focus on being a better swimmer. This 17-year-old turned down money. When was the last time you heard anyone say that?

Missy Franklin should be commended not just for representing her country at the Olympics. She should be rewarded for pursuing her dreams. She knows fame and fortune can wait.

For Missy Franklin, her life comes first. Fame arrives later.